Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

memo to a fellow Beatles-nut

Unformed thought: The critical silence around McCartney’s album of last year calls into question the Beatles’ achievement. If people don’t like it, then people must not like the Beatles. Because its best is as good as anything he’s ever done. If you don’t like McCartney, then you dislike 40% of the Beatles’ catalogue, and a 50 or 60% excellent band isn’t all that special. (Not YOU; generic “you”.)

If someone doesn’t think it’s as good as anything he’s ever done, they should say why. I hear: great melodies unlike anybody else’s, energetic rhythms with a masterful personal style unlike anybody else’s, singing that’s as emotionally connected to the material as any singing he’s done, interesting & lively & well-colored arrangements up there with his all-time best including the Beatles, and some emotionally well-matched music-lyric constructions (in other words, SONGS). He even makes fun of his capacity for twee-ness.

Only downsides: occasionally the songs reflect an unattractively gigantic ego (but that was there in the Beatles too), and that Curtis Mayfield cop on the last song is a drag.

I’ve always thought that popsters like him & the rest of the Beatles have aged more gracefully than the bad-boy rockers like the Rolling Stones or the art-guys like David Byrne. (Folkies like Dylan, Neil, Richard Thompson can age gracefully too.) with popsters and folkies, the persona is less important, or maybe it's just not age-dependent as the bad boy's is. (Dylan is the all-time master of persona manipulation; maybe I just find his current persona attractive). With bad boys and art guys, false steps can undermine perceptions of previous work by undermining the persona associated with it.

Anyway, McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard": Beatles-litmus test, or just not as good as his stuff with the Beatles? I say litmus test -- as good as his stuff with the Beatles.

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