Wednesday, December 4, 2013
I'm not crazy about the new video, which is part of the promotional campaign for On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2. It's breezy fun for sure, but I would've preferred that the old footage remain free of animation. The added color and the fanciful flourishes just end up having a cheesy, distracting effect. Why not keep the clips of The Beatles and their fans unaltered and then intercut those scenes with purely animated ones? I think the final product would've been much better. In any event, if the video isn't your style, still check it out for the song itself (a Buddy Holly cover, for those unaware). The sound quality is superb, especially on John and Paul's harmonized "hmms." They're little moments of dreamy perfection.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
- Pitchfork: "But really, there isn’t a cut out of the thirteen on New that doesn’t make a compelling argument for McCartney continuing to produce music. As his evolving relationship with shmaltz goes to show, he’s continued to stretch out as an artist long after most artists from his generation slipped into a comfortable rut. While it’s not as radical an aesthetic statement his searingly noisy 2008 Electric Arguments, his appearance on a recent EDM banger by Bloody Beetroots, or his stint as frontman for Nirvana, it still pushes hard against the popular conception of what a Paul McCartney record’s supposed to sound like, which is a wonderful thing." - The New York Times: "But in “Early Days,” Mr. McCartney lets his perpetual boyishness fall away. To a folky tune akin to “Mother Nature’s Son,” he recalls the very beginnings of his pop career. His voice isn’t entirely smooth; there’s a scratch in it, and a little peevishness as he complains about retrospective credit for Beatles achievements: “Everybody seems to have their own opinion, who did this and who did that.” It’s a reminder that his usual charm isn’t as effortless as his melodies can make it seem." - Rolling Stone: "The Ronson collaborations are the best moments, splitting the difference between then and now: the Sgt. Pepper-y "New" and "Alligator," which shuffles White Album guitar grit with stoner synth-pop ambience. "I need a place where I can rest my weary bones and have a conversation not too deep," McCartney sings in the latter, which sounds par for the course. But, hell, if it's this catchy, we're in." - The New Yorker: "He’s Paul McCartney, and he’s Paul McCartney now the way that he was Paul McCartney ten years ago, or thirty, generically exhorting listeners to action or reminding them of glory of love or sketching the outlines of a less pleasant emotion (fear, sadness, unregulated anger) without any real specifics. On album after album, McCartney has been content to be a rock star seen from the outside rather than an artist seen from the inside... In that sense, “New” is a perfect Paul McCartney album. It’s filled with songs that are without meaning but not meaningless. Whether in the wonderfully eerie “Appreciate,” the lovely, Indian-inflected “Hosanna,” or the happily crack-brained nursery rhyme “Queenie Eye,” McCartney makes songs that work extremely well on their own terms while remaining largely sealed off from anything approaching real or raw emotion." For a comprehensive menu of New reviews, visit Metacritic. And to stream the album, go here.
Friday, October 4, 2013
Maybe it's due to his pose or the shine of his leather jacket or the lighting in general, but doesn't John's upper half - especially his head - look creepily waxen? And Paul's hair is just next-level unbecoming. Read more about the image here.
Thursday, October 3, 2013
I finally got around to watching Paul's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. For the most part, it was exactly what you'd expect: Paul - ever loose and charming - reminisced about days past (e.g., his maiden trip to Hollywood, pre-Beatles jobs, meeting Elvis, etc.), Kimmel cracked some decent though not first-rate jokes, the audience devoured every moment, and then at the end Paul and company played a live set. Enjoyable but predictable. However, there was something about Paul's manner that caught my attention: the old-timer was clearly feeling a bit randy that night. When he was asked what stood out about his first time in Los Angeles, Paul mentioned all the pretty girls. He continued, "We were young, we were healthy, we were ready to roll." Cheeky. And then later, in the middle of a discussion about Elvis and his enormous popularity, Kimmel observed that it was strange to think The Beatles were ever "beneath" anyone in the rock 'n' roll hierarchy. Paul responded, "Oh we were beneath many people in our day. Believe me." Oh Paul, you're incorrigible. Interview part 1 Interview part 2 Interview part 3
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Macca played the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas this past weekend and live-debuted three cuts from his forthcoming record, New. One was the title track, which I wrote about here. The other two, "Everybody Out There" and "Save Us", can be found below. Enjoy. New will be released stateside on October 15th. "Everybody Out There" "Save Us"
Friday, September 20, 2013
Alex Turner has long been primed for a John Lennon moment. If you're unaware, Turner is the hyper-talented frontman of the British guitar-rock combo Arctic Monkeys, who earlier this month dropped their fifth LP, AM. Midway through this ace record, after a run of dark, moody, swaggering cuts, Turner switches gears and goes into full-on Lennon mode with "No. 1 Party Anthem". It's a big ballad in the vein of, say, "Mind Games" or John's "Angel Baby" cover. It's layered, echoey, and shimmering, with a heavy gait and slow swoop. Producer James Ford applies a widescreen treatment to what is really a modest construction. Call it the "Phil Spector effect", something John knew all about. The rest matches up too. Typical of Turner, the lyric - which wryly describes the hesitations of an after-hours romeo - boasts sharply drawn narration and clever turns-of-phrase. Money line: "It's not like I'm falling in love / I just want you to do me no good / And you look like you could." Calls to mind one of John's Rubber Soul flames, no? And when you next listen to the song, close your eyes and imagine Lennon delivering the lead. From the verses to the chorus to dazzling bridge ("The look of love" / "The rush of blood..."), the shoe fits impeccably. Here's to hoping that Turner revisits this generous well in the near future. (If the video is removed, go here.)