Friday, February 13, 2015

"Four Five Seconds" by Paul, Kanye West and Rihanna

Paul McCartney Rihanna Kanye West
Paul, Rihanna, Kanye.

Paul is enjoying a resurgence on the charts in early 2015 thanks in large part to new collaborations with Kanye West and Rihanna.

Now, you may think that's wonderful. However, I am 100% sure that there are many people rolling their eyes about this shotgun affair. Note that this sort of thing is nothing at all new for Paul, as you no doubt recall his collaborations with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder from the '80s which gave Paul his two biggest solo hits. Those received a lot of eye-rolls, too. So, some things never change with Paul.

Paul McCartney Four Five Seconds

Incidentally, a little trivia: Paul does sing a phrase in "Four Five Seconds." You have to really listen hard for it, though, because he doesn't sound like himself. But, it is Paul McCartney. So, he merits a vocal credit on this song and not just a backing vocal.

Paul McCartney Stevie Wonder
I know you don't want to be reminded of this, but it did spend 7 weeks at No. 1.

This is what Kanye himself has to say about his recent dealings with Paul:
We just went in and we vibed out. As you can see, I might be a little bit more ‘angst’ than Paul. And remember the last time when Paul had somebody really ‘angst’ working with him, the type of music they made?
Whether John Lennon is smiling down from above at this comment or rolling in his grave - only the shadow knows. I probably wouldn't want to do any microsurgery whilst sitting in Strawberry Fields Park right about now, though.

John Lennon

Kanye, to his credit, quickly realized his error:
Hey, everyone, America, I’m not comparing myself to John Lennon. The tension, the ‘salt and pepper’ — I mean, maybe that’s bad because it sounds like ‘black and white’ — but the tension creates a new magic. The pressure creates the diamond from the coal. And he came in with the best vibes ever. And I said, ‘Four, five seconds from wildin’,’ and he said, ‘It’s great, everyone.’ And we just had that.
I don't even know what all of that means, but it sounds good.
"Look, I've heard it all before."

I am going to be completely honest about this here. I honestly believe that Kanye is not the total jackass that he pretends to be in public and, in fact, is a serious student of music. I know, I know, he does stupid things left and right as part of his public act, like storming the stage at multiple awards ceremonies looking like a clown who lost his circus, but I think that is just Kanye's way of getting attention and making an ironic commentary on awards ceremonies themselves.
Look, we all have bad years

All right, even I'm not sure if I buy that, but I do think the simpleton act is part of Kanye's gimmick, his brand, his schtick, whatever you want to call it. As very slight evidence, I present the following two facts: a) he actually knows who John Lennon was and what Lennon contributed to Paul's art, which is spot-on accurate in my own opinion; and b) supposedly the entire new collaborations arose out of Kanye approaching Paul at some function a few years ago and asking a question about an extremely obscure B-side to a long-forgotten 1980 techno-dance release (remember 'McCartney II'?).

So, he's not quite the bumbling idiot he would have you believe. I give him the benefit of the doubt. Besides, a few of his songs are quite amusing, such as 'Golddigger.'
Not a bad song by Kanye.

In my opinion, the real weak link in the trio talent-wise is Rihanna, but I'm sure nobody at all anywhere in any epoch of history would agree with me on that, so I will just let that lie there undeveloped.

The collaboration between the three is "Four Five Seconds," which as of this writing sits at No. 6 on the Billboard charts (but No. 1 in Sweden and Australia!) and appears destined for higher on the chart (depending on how many fanboys and fangirls Taylor Swift can round up for her own new single). It is Paul's first U.S. top ten since 'Spies Like Us' way back in 1985. Previously, Kanye and Paul released 'Only One,' which was Paul's first U.S. top-forty hit in the US since 'My Brave Face' in 1989. Of course, McCartney did not get the "lead credit" on "Four Five Seconds," so it "doesn't count" in some circles.
"Spies Like Us' can finally rest and go fishing, it's work is done.

Paul technically had a UK No. 1 hit in 2012 with the Justice Collective and has had much greater success on the UK singles charts than on the US charts since the 1980s. Album performance, which is far more important, all along has been pretty comparable between the two jurisdictions. These new songs, though, will restore him on the singles charts, and that ain't beanbag.

Strangely, a minor controversy has arisen as to whether Paul, who plays guitar and sings backups on 'Four Five Seconds,' actually deserves credit for the song in his oeuvre. Word is, though, that he didn't just show up for the videotaping and pretend to play - he was the prime mover behind the song's creation. Anyone familiar with Paul McCartney knows that is how he rolls, always has, always will, he is a man of melodies and the melody is his. The song is as much his creation as anyone else's, it bears his stamp, he performs on it, and that is how it shall be written forever and ever amen.


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