Magazine article Newsweek

Let It Be, Paul

Magazine article Newsweek

Let It Be, Paul

Article excerpt

Byline: Seth Colter Walls

Usually, when a music legend announces, "And here's a song from my latest record," the unspoken response from the audience is "OK, but you'd better follow it with some hits." Sometimes this dynamic makes sense; mega-artists tend to draw big crowds even after the muse of inspiration has long since left the building. But as Paul McCartney prepares to play seven dates in four U.S. cities this summer, he happens to be floating on a raft of recent material that ranges from good to great. You could draw up a fascinating set list just from the snappy Memory Almost Full, the sophisticated Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, and the wild-as-"Helter Skelter" Electric Arguments (released under The Fireman moniker in 2008). The sad thing is we'll probably never hear that kind of Macca concert.

There are two reasons. The more obvious one is that nostalgia-seeking boomers would drown out the music by screaming bloody murder. The less evident--and more mysterious--explanation is that McCartney doesn't appear willing to challenge us in concert the way he still does on record. With McCartney, more than any other artist of his longevity and stature, there's a disconnect between the songs he writes and the ones he performs for crowds. Bob Dylan, for example, is still configuring radically new versions of old classics with his current road band. Yet who else of McCartney's generation is flexible enough to stretch his or her boundaries in the studio by working with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, or by making left-field electronica with an ex-member of Killing Joke? …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.