The Barefoot/'Paul Is Dead’ Conspiracy Theories Were Wrong...
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Why Paul McCartney’s Genius and Relevance Will Never Fade
HIS first solo album in five years…
IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images
will be released on 7th September and is getting people chatting and sweating – Egypt Station has a fascinating title and its lead-off double A-side, I Don’t Know and Come on to Me, have been unveiled into the world. The single’s songs, between them, show the hard-pushing and kicking Paul McCartney and the more tender and romantic songwriter. The record itself will contain sixteen tracks and include bookended instrumentals, Station I and Station II. There will be epic songs (Despite Repeated Warnings) and contentment (Happy with You); the music, according to McCartney, is like moving between stations/destinations and exploring different landscapes. Given the way McCartney protested in the U.S. recently – regarding gun violence and the need for stricter control – one cannot help but see political anger and societal observation in the titles and motifs. A lot of the wordplay and resonance stems from older McCartney work and, in many ways, it is a nice reminder of why the former Beatle has been able to stay in the public bosom for so long. 2013’s New was met with critical acclaim and showed fresh innovation and the need to look ahead – compared to more wistful and backwards-looking albums that came before. A few years down the line and there is a balance of contemporary relevance and a sojourn through his back catalogue. Many will see some Beatles-like strands and familiar touches.
That has been the case, I guess, with most of Paul McCartney’s solo career. Look at McCartney – released in 1970 – and one could detect the leftover sounds of The Beatles. A couple of new revelations and news stories have sparked a fresh desire for McCartney and what he has to offer. He was interviewed by Matt Everitt on BBC Radio 6 Music and talked about his latest album and how excited he was to get going. Everitt posed to McCartney and interesting question: whether he is good at self-editing and able to see through all the positivity and celebration. There are few who would call any McCartney music sub-standard, and so, the master has to look at his music and whether it is the best version of himself. Even at the age of seventy-six; there is no slowing the living legend. The interview with Everitt showed why Paul McCartney can never leave the heart and captivate the masses. He comes across as endlessly friendly and revealing; able to chat about The Beatles and his new life; witty and self-deprecating when he needs to be. In many ways, the current-time McCartney is not too different from the Beatle we all adored and cherished back in the 1960s. Rather than go through the annals of The Beatles – I will write a Beatles piece later in the year to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their eponymous album – I am delighted there is new material coming.
IN THIS PHOTO: Paul McCartney recording his album, Egypt Station/PHOTO CREDIT: Sam Rock for DIY
Not that I can claim any credit but I have a knack of wondering when certain artists are going to release more material – why such a gap?! I did it with Royal Blood (a regret I still hold) and London Grammar; I did it with Florence + the Machine and The Avalanches. I cannot claim any psychic ability – nobody can, for that matter – but I can sense when certain artists are about to brew and release new music. Maybe that is not the best superpower to hold – as opposed invisibility, super-human strength of the ability to bring four women to simultaneous climax – it does mean I can get an impression of how that artist has been thinking and working. Paul McCartney didn’t need to rush and get an album out double-quick: New was released via Virgin EMI in the U.K. and Egypt Station will come out through Capitol. The man can choose labels and take his sweet time to get the material just-so. I was fearful we would not see another McCartney release before, well…you know…but the man is back and releasing again! What we have already heard of Egypt Station suggests the Liverpool icon is in top form and showing the rest of the music world how it should be done. I guess political events around the world, especially the Trump-led U.S., have seeped into his consciousness and compelled new ideas.
PHOTO CREDIT: Joe Schildhorn/BFA/REX Shutterstock
One of the reasons I feel a 2018 Paul McCartney album is a great thing is because the big guns of music, largely, have not delivered. The finest records of this year so far have come from artists that get less attention than the big stars – it is down to the Wings lead to save the day and prove why he has remained essential and beloved since the early-1960s. Not only has McCartney written some of the finest songs of our lifetime; he gives so much to the people and, in response, there is that love and worship. When he was speaking with Matt Everitt; you were sucked in by his voice and the playful language he used. The effect you get hearing him discuss old endeavours and ventures make the heart skip a beat – God knows what it must have been like being in the same room as him! I predict McCartney’s seventeenth solo album will be one of the very best of 2018 – guaranteed to rival all the most-hyped and critically-lauded records! I am not one to cry at music – only when accompanied by projectile vomiting and disgust – but seeing McCartney join James Corden on his Carpool Karaoke almost brought me to tears. Say what you want about Corden – most people do and hold unwarranted hatred towards him – but the man has helped create one of the finest televisual/musical moments of this year.
I am not a fan of the feature myself but there have been some editions that have justified the acclaim and spotlight (Stevie Wonder appearing, for one!). Nobody would ever expect Paul McCartney to appear on it, right?! Not only did he drive around Liverpool but he played a low-attended and surprise gig at the Philharmonic pub in Liverpool. The small collection of punters was agog when they witnessed McCartney stride onto the small stage with his band in tow! The legend rattled off some old favourite – including Back in the U.S.S.R. and Hey Jude – and got people singing and dancing. Corden joined McCartney on stage for the finale, Hey Jude, and there were visible tears on the cheeks of those witnessing a true moment of history! How often will that ever happen in our lifetime…I would suggest this is a once-only event that many would love to have witnessed. To see Macca in such an intimate and charming setting will remain in the memories of those who were there for the rest of their lives! During the Carpool Karaoke segment; McCartney explained the origins to some of his songs; the pair drove through Liverpool and there was that wistfulness from the ageing musician. He fondly recalled writing a segment of A Day in the Life in a small house – where he ran for the bus and was late (we all remember that part of the track!) – and waxed lyrical about his former bandmates and coming up with ideas that would lead to unbelievable songwriting.
IN THIS PHOTO: The cover for The Beatles' final (in terms of recording) album, Abbey Road/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
There is a bittersweet aspect to the recent attention paid to Paul McCartney. It is sad knowing that, in not too many years, he will not be with us and we might be seeing some of his last recordings. As much as we’d like to see McCartney continue for decades; time marches on and we cannot hold onto him forever. Whilst it sounds rather morbid; there is plenty of energy in him and the man wants to keep putting music out into the universe. I still remember hearing The Beatles’ music for the first time as a child and being stunned by this new world and strange language. It was the most evocative and memorable moment of my childhood and I always plump towards the early sounds the boys put out (1962-1965) because of that energy, sense of growth and simplicity. The Beatles developed and evolved but, at every stage, Paul McCartney kept coming up with staggering songs. Whilst some of his solo, post-Beatles work has not been golden; we can forgive him as he has given the world so much wonder and brilliance. I am a huge fan of all The Beatles’ albums and love their film work, too – A Hard Day’s Night is one of my absolute favourite flicks!
IN THIS PHOTO: The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night (1964)/PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images/Press
McCartney exudes a modest and sense of utilitarianism we could go with running this country! He may have left Liverpool decades ago but he still knows his roots and can bond with the common man with absolute ease! There are musicians who have an ego and are willing to distance themselves from the people who make them what they are: Paul McCartney has a love for the public and, in return, there is a huge passion for him. His eyes have crow’s feet and there are shadows cast overhead. He talked to Matt Everitt and some of the songs on his latest album look at age and bad moods – the man is capable of being human and reflecting the same stressed and worries we all have. We need those songwriters who understand us and can write songs that strike the collective chord. This has always been what Paul McCartney is about: in 2018, he still reflects our desires and speaks for us. The past week or so has been amazing and seen the Beatles icon capture new minds and bring fresh material into the world. McCartney, as he said in the interview, has problems like anyone else. Whether you are President Obama (or the former President…) or John Lennon; we all have our demons and we can talk about it. With Paul McCartney by our side and putting music out into the world; we all feel less alone and have the feeling we can achieve anything…
IN THIS PHOTO: Paul McCartney recording his album, Egypt StationPHOTO CREDIT: Sam Rock for DIY
WE put our minds to.