(One Little Indian Ltd)
It’s become a bit of given that serious music people hate Paul McCartney the solo artist. And listening to some of his output, sure, what’s not to hate. But come on, this is Paul McCartney; not everything he does is going to be rubbish, right?
His latest outing, under moniker The Fireman, a joint project with producer Youth, is a bloody great album. Listen to the opening track, which falls somewhere between ‘Helter Skelter’ and ‘When the Levee Breaks’, and tell me that isn’t a great, ballsy song.
Or what about this for a classic McCartney pop song. The boy has potential:
In his book on music and evolution, Daniel Levitin notes that Paul overcame his obsession with forties dance-hall music with the release of “You Gave Me an Answer” in 1976, but it turns out not to be true. Even this album tips a hat in that direction with “Two Magpies”, which is kind of related to ‘Blackbird’, sorta. I mean, it has a similar progression even if the whole vibe of the piece is, as I say, that sort of dance-hall thing Sir Paul obviously has a soft spot for.
Anyway, none of the songs I’ve mentioned, or embedded, are typical or indicative of the album as a whole. Which is one of the good things about it. It all hangs together, but the songs aren’t all of a type. The album is full of strong melodies, which I guess you’d expect, but they aren’t just left at that. And even those at the more experimental, Eno, soundwash end of the scale, avoid indulgence and are worth your time.
Then there’s a track like “Lifelong Passion” on which he seems to be channelling his old mate, George. Or “Universal Here, Everlasting Now” which reminds me of something I can’t quite place.
You never quite know where you are with this album and that’s good thing. I’ve played it a lot and seriously, I’m always hearing new things and get a kick out of it every time I run it through. Pretty uncool, I know, to praise Sir Paul these days, but hey.