Tag Archives: new

McCartney Story In Rolling Stone Less Annoying Than Usual!

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“Let’s face it: I’m cool. Everyone tells me that I am”

“People say, ‘Where are all your gold discs?’ I don’t do that. I just don’t wanna get smug–but of course, on the other hand, I want to think I’m great. Because when the hell am I going to bask in this? What am I going to do, wait till I die and go ‘Oh fuck, I should have taken a week.'”
Paul McCartney

Just finished reading the McCartney story in the November issue of Rolling Stone… a thing I have avoided with great stealth for the majority of my life, but this was like a fortune cookie. OK… yeah… I suppose that bears some explaining. I don’t care for fortune cookies, in fact I’m not fond of any dessert that doesn’t involve chocolate (dark) or caramel… and in a perfect world, both! The point is (actually, the point is that I wanted to write) that I only open fortune cookies when I feel compelled to. This happens rarely nowadays, but the last couple times I felt a fortune cookie might be hiding a relevant insight in the hollows of its flat flavorless self, the fortunes were very relevant–even though ordinarily they’re about as relevant as Bazooka Joe comics. This issue of Rolling Stone was like that… I just kinda felt it was gonna be worth cracking open, relevant… I heard the call just as I hear it from certain fortune cookies. As much as I should probably edit out that fortune cookie comparison, eh… it works.

Glory be! How attitudes about McCartney are changing. Oh, sure, there are still dinosaurs like Howard Sounes about, old farts who are still clinging to their faded hipness with all their might, clutching their fingers into McCartney as they slide further and deeper into irrelevance… but the rest of the world seems to be moving on and laughing off the silly affectation of disliking McCartney out of a sense of hipster duty. Yes, Rolling Stone not only treated McCartney with respect, the article actually shone at moments when words like “great,” “Badass” and “cool” were used to describe him; a refreshing collection of adjectives considering that for decades McCartney was erroneously considered anything but great, badass and cool.

Moreso, the article was NOT about the fucking Beatles. Oh, of course a couple of those old topics came up, but the article did not rely on that, nor on entirely propping itself up through discussing Lennon. No, this article stayed admirably focused on the beauty and brilliance of Paul McCartney now. Right NOW! Which is where the attention belongs and belonged all along. McCartney was a Beatle, and now he is a Master, to me, that is more interesting.

In fact, again, unbelievable for Rolling Stone, when the Lennon Myth comes up (that myth in which McCartney is Lennon’s “dimple-cheeked sidekick,” in the words of Rolling Stone), McCartney is not crushed by them in favor of Lennon, no, McCartney and his body of work is treated with more openness and recognition. Dare I say it, Rolling Stone treated McCartney with the generous amount of respect he is damn well due!

When discussing his nature they talk of how Paul is agitated by inertia… which is also good phrasing as it utterly describes his methods and output. Since the end of the Beatles, McCartney has never been inert, rather his approach, attitude, and end results always reveal a restless search for new horizons.

“I’ve always had this sense of wonder; still have.”
McCartney

The article is full of little gems like that, little insights, like his talking about singing the old songs, about his approach to them, to keeping them fresh. He talks about not doing them on auto-pilot, of examining the songs of this twentysomething person that was him so long ago. “I’m still trying to look at it–what the hell is this thing? Why did I do this?” The article revealed unexpected little stories and concepts, like this massive robot he plans on performing with on stage–trust me, you’ll have to read that part yourself. Ultimately, the symbolism of this giant robot bit is what fascinated me… again, you gotta read this bit yourself, I dare not summarize it.

The article actually went into some very surprising territory, regarding both the music and the his personal life. I am astounded to say that I learned things from the article, things that brought me a much deeper appreciation of a few of his songs. In fact, those moments in the article absolutely turned me around on a couple songs… not that they were at all bad… I had simply missed the grander point being made in the songs. The one thing I really was reminded of is just how deliberate he is, how he has vision, real vision, and how many layers there are to his songs. Nothing is a throwaway. Many many things are hidden in McCartney’s songs… which is why he so fascinates me, and so alienates critics like Mr. Sounes… critics don’t have the wisdom to search through to the hidden layers.

Two of the finest examples of songs that I gained insight to through this article would be “Save Us” from the new album, and “Nod Your Head” from Memory Almost Full. I had originally tossed the lyrics to “Nod Your Head” off as not having any meaning, but now that I realize that it was McCartney singing about his love of oral sex… well the song is suddenly not only positively filthy, but hot… but keep in mind… it always rocked. In fact that whole obsessively sexual aspect of McCartney somehow slid by me. We learn about how he thinks about sex through this article, and I can most definitely see it in the lyrics. This was traced back to the Beatles in the discussion, but they also discussed “Eat At Home” from Ram as having been about sex as well. I blush to realize that I really had no idea! Actually, I rather liked learning this.

Regarding “Save Us,” I learned that the song is about (in McCartney’s own words) “The savior aspect of having a good woman.” I love his phrasing of that, strong, religious, and not that of a kid writing love songs. This also reminded me of “Rough Ride” from Flowers In the Dirt, which I had figured was about the very same thing back in 1989… as well as about flat-out sex. Now I know my suspicions were confirmed, and it also confirms my suspicions of “I Owe It All To You” from Off the Ground being about the savior aspect of love. That has always been a favorite, and knowing I was right about it is lovely. “I Owe It All To You” most definitely sings of love as part of the spiritual and mystical life. Again, not kids’ stuff love song wise. As for “Save Us,” it was one of the few songs on the new album that didn’t knock me out… now it’s starting to knock at me a little more.

I learned many other things I suspected from McCartney, that his dancing around affable thumbs-up thing is not phoney… that’s who he is with his crew even when the cameras are off. Of course, every yin has it’s yang, and I also learned that he is a stern employer–wouldn’t he have to be, after all, he is (Rolling Stone’s words) “Paul Motherfucking McCartney.”

Well, while I’m pleased Rolling Stone has caught up… he was always, great, badass, cool, and Paul Motherfucking McCartney, even when they were too blind to see it and too deaf to hear it.

Just goes to show you, doesn’t it? Sometimes… they are ALL wrong, all of them! Sometimes, it’s not Paul, it’s not us, it’s them, and we just have to wait for them to catch up to us. I find this comforting, and am pleased to have learned it through Paul Motherfucking McCartney.

Why No Justine Review Of “NEW” By Paul McCartney?

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I’ve been asking myself why I haven’t posted a “review” of Paul McCartney’s latest album… “NEW.” My answer is rather complicated, and requires a little foundational understanding. See, I believe that the process of making art is shamanic, the purpose of making art is shamanic, sacred, therefor artists are shaman. Great artists, masters, are of course sacred, perhaps almost luminous beings. They are beyond the words, or even understanding, of the average man (or woman), especially beyond the understanding of critics and their silly little “reviews.”

Besides all that I simply feel that the act of being a critic is immoral, an act of vandalism, and the words of critics, and the act of allowing critics to be of any importance at all, merely drags art into the lowly gutter of the common man. By their very nature critics take the pearls artists cast before swine and bury them in the slop… thinking themselves and their foolish little opinions of great import as they muddy the pearls. It’s rather grotesque, actually.

heinrichkley-artcritic

Looking through history at the hilarious wrongness of the words of critics when discussing masterpieces has taught me that the mere existence of critics is not merely immoral, but annoying. They are rather like flies buzzing around a picnic. Problem is, we can’t just put out critic-paper, get a bunch of ’em stuck on it and throw it away… they are slightly more clever than flies. So, let’s look at that… we have immoral cretins (critics) getting their filthy shitty bug-legs all over the golden works of masters. Who needs it. And while I’m onto “who needs it,” well, I know I don’t. I don’t need some critic to affirm or challenge what I know… they know far less than I. If critics really knew anything about music they would be musicians, if they knew anything about writing they would write… so what the hell are they, and what hell do they do anyway? In the words of Hans Christian Andersen… they do “nothing.”

Of course I wouldn’t have written a critique of McCartney’s latest, I would have written an exploration, an appreciation… I would have written questions for myself to answer as the album and its songs revealed its secrets to me over the coming years and decades. I will say, the first time I heard New I wept, and always at the same point… and wept the second and third times and beyond:

“May sweet memories of friends from the past,
Always comes to you, when you look for them,
And your inspiration, long may it last,
May it come to you, time and time again.”

What a divine and eloquent blessing for him to bestow upon his fellow artists. Yes, I wept, and wept that he was speaking so emotionally through the rest of the song about how people have tried to remove him of the credit he is do, and I wept into the next song or so in gratitude that Paul McCartney is still out there being so beautiful.

I have learned, personally, that many of the albums McCartney has created that I didn’t like, or dismissed, when I was young were simply over my head. Unfortunately when it comes to McCartney his albums have been over the head of the entire culture… and truly ahead of their times. Lots of artists are purported to be ahead of their time by critics, but rarely are they more than five or ten minutes ahead of their time. McCartney has at times been decades ahead of his time. In other words, it wasn’t that some of McCartney’s albums weren’t up to my standards, as time has rolled on I have realized that it was quite the opposite: I was not up to McCartney… he was dashing ahead and figuring eventually we would catch up. Well, I have. Time will make this all the more evident, trust me on this. McCartney is a master, and few masters walk the earth at any given time, plenty of great artists, a few legends, but precious few masters.

There is only one way to approach his latest album… with an awareness of his station. His album cannot be listened to with dismissive ears, with ears searching for the flaws, with petty little presuppositions; no, the album needs to be approached with respect, as something to study and learn from, as something that has something to teach, as the work of a master. We must bow before it, in the Hindu sense, as we bow before the ones we respect and love. McCartney is a master, and the works of masters must be approached with humility. To approach the work of a master as if we knew something he did not, as if we were somehow too smart for him, simply doesn’t make sense to me.

I also haven’t discussed the album with many people because I do not want to discuss it. In the past I would get excited about an album and try and get all my friends to come over for a listen… not anymore. If they are to discover the album, it probably won’t be through me this time. See, I don’t want to get involved in a conversation with someone for whom the album is just another pop album. It isn’t. We shouldn’t be comparing McCartney’s latest to Pearl Jam’s latest. There is no comparison, they are not on the same plane of existence. I don’t want to have to defend the album, defend McCartney, defend or explain my views. I just want to enjoy it in an isolation chamber.

If someone gets it, gets the album, gets the respect required to approach this work of art, then I would enjoy THAT discussion, otherwise… I’m putting my headphones back on, thank you very much.

What do you call a thousand critics at the bottom of the ocean?…

(To read the entire Hans Christian Andersen story “Something” follow this: http://hca.gilead.org.il/somethin.html)

Cult Of Lennon’s Myopic View Addressed

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beatleshamburgThe Cult Of Lennon has long had a myopic death-grip on the legend of the Beatles. It was, of course, spearheaded by Lennon, who was utterly shameless when it came to promoting his own importance and alleged superiority as well as grinding his axe in public. Unfortunately, the public (and Rolling Stone) bought and adapted Lennon’s myopic self-mythologizing without questioning it… and the bullshit sat, rotted, and permeated the fans and press. When Lennon died, this fragile myopic mythology became set in stone. Here, 30 years later, McCartney has finally decided to speak truth to bullshit with his touching song, “Early Days”. What is most striking to me about the song is not merely how moving it as a song, as pure melody, and not merely how stirring the production and arrangement both are, but how naked and honest the lyrics are. All of this suggests that this has been hurting McCartney for a very very long time.

Unlike Lennon who wrote first-person narratives, McCartney took the more challenging approach and chose to deal with his personal trials and tribulations by creating songs that were no less honest than Lennon’s, but far more universal. This is a technique McCartney has used since the Beatles, and continues to use. Recently, however, he has begun speaking rather frankly, and this song is one of the finest examples of his frankness. repeatedly it has brought tears to my eyes.

Here are the first few verses:

“Early Days”

[Chorus:]
They can’t take it from me, if they tried.
I lived through those early days,
So many times I had to change the pain to laughter,
Just to keep from getting crazed.

Dressed in black from head to toe,
Two guitars across our backs,
We would walk the city roads,
Seeking someone who would listen to the music,
That we were writing down at home.

[Chorus:]
They can’t take it from me, if they tried,
I lived through those early days,
So many times I had to change the pain to laughter,
Just to keep from getting crazed.

Hair slicked back with vaseline,
Like the pictures on the wall of the local record shop,
Hearing noises we where destined to remember,
We willed the thrill to never stop.

Now, of course there is more. So far McCartney has simply set the stage and made his thesis clear. “We willed the thrill to never stop” may be one of the most profound lyrics in the song, as that is of course, the challenge in life. Keeping the thrill alive is an immense challenge to those of us who want to maintain our energy… and Sir Paul has certainly proven through this high energy album that the thrill has never stopped for him, even if it has stopped for most of his fans and colleagues.

Then comes the next verse, and a blessing that has made me cry each time I have heard this song. The blessing is not merely moving, but revealing… McCartney is wishing upon the world the true blessings of his spiritual wealth. More specifically, this song is touching as he is talking to “US,” other musicians and artists, by so beautifully wishing us that our inspiration may last.

May sweet memories of friends from the past,
Always comes to you, when you look for them,
And your inspiration, long may it last,
May it come to you, time and time again.

But that is not all… he follows that with a statement so achingly personal that the tears kept coming from me, and a statement that lays to rest all the silly contortions Lennon Cultists go through to maintain the absurd purity of their myopic view.

Now everybody seems to have there own opinion,
Who did this and who did that,
But as for me I don’t see how they can remember,
When they weren’t where it was at.

Case closed, I would like to add. How could all these writers and fans really know? Of course they don’t, didn’t, and won’t.

[Chorus:]
They can’t take it from me, if they tried,
I lived through those early days,
So many times I had to change the pain to laughter,
Just to keep from getting crazed.

I lived through those early days
I lived through those early days

Hearing an artist with the staggering dignity and magnificence of McCartney address this persistent source of pain with such openness is truly a gift we all should cherish. Songs from “New” are not to be judged, criticized, or picked apart by fans (or worse… sludge and grudge critics), they are not to be dismissed or shrugged off, no, these songs are to be approached with respect and gratitude, and the knowledge that if you don’t get it… it may well be because McCartney is firing these songs (just as he always has) way over your heads. This album is to be listened to on McCartney’s terms, not on yours, ours, or the terms dictated by critics. At 71, he still matters, is nowhere near through, and remains as relevant as ever… if only you have the ears and minds to hear it for what it is… wisdom from on high.

Queenie Eye (McCartney)

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Paul-McCartney-0713-3“Life’s a game,
Rags from riches,
Dogs and Bitches,
Hunt for fame.”

So often I lament Paul’s choice of singles, but not this time, he nailed it! The sonics of this song are spectacular, the arrangement perfect, and the structure as potent a mix of pop and art as ever’s been created. Though I cannot read the lyrics they are full of punch and vigor. I’m feeling like a little girl at Christmas with this album being less than a week away.

It will stun me to read and see people picking at and criticizing his stuff with the same flaccid grudge-filled cliches, I mean… shit, the music of THIS man is astounding even if you take out of account the fact that he is so obviously as inspired at 71 as he was at 21. At this point if people can’t get over themselves and see how profound a gift it is to be alive while Paul McCartney is making music… to heck with ’em!

This tune is as relevant, fresh and punchy as anything I’ve ever heard. It is alive and now in sound and inspiration. “Queenie Eye,” like McCartney himself, is full of delightful surprises and complicated turns.

So few things hit me with that feeling of being flooded with joy and energy, hope and tingling, so when I am hit with that vivid experience, it resounds. This song, each time I listened to it, filled me with the same goosebump chill… it’s a feeling many of us don’t often capture as we get older, but I am open and work to find those moments. With “Queenie Eye” I didn’t have to work for it at all.

Listen to the song at this link: http://www.directcurrentmusic.com/music-news-new-music/listen-paul-mccartney-queenie-eye.html