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.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Paul at 2015 Grammys

As all Paul McCartney watchers know, 2015 waso an epic year for the former Beatle. During a performance of ELO's 'Evil Woman,' Paul seems to lose himself in the moment and gets up and shows his appreciation. It's kind of odd seeing this, as Paul is usually on stage receiving the appreciation of the crowd rather than being the sole person in the crowd showing his appreciation.

'Evil Woman' is an awesome song. However, the rest of the crowd was not as into it as Paul, leading to this classic moment.

Paul is Paul, nobody is going to tell Paul McCartney to sit down!

Paul has returned to the top of the charts in 2015 with collaborations this year, but this moment will always stand out as one of the best of the year for those following Mr. McCartney. There is lots more to come in 2015, too, with the completion of the interrupted Japan tour and more music.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Paul Returns to Japan in 2015

Paul McCartney Wings
Our favorite itinerant former Beatle performs at a concert in Atlanta in October 2014. 

Paul McCartney returned to Japan.

One is tempted to put after that, 'for more punishment,' but I will be kind.

Paul has had more personal issues with his (scheduled) Japanese tours than anywhere else on earth (and he plays a lot of places. Playing in Red Square in Moscow is nothing next to being on the stage in Tokyo.

Twice previously, Paul went to the trouble of jetting to Japan - basically just a comfortable overnight flight for a man with his resources - only to wind up not playing a single note. Yes, he did manage to pull it off somehow in the early '90s, but that was the exception that proves the rule.

We all wished Paul good luck and Godspeed. And that he wouldn't fly there on Malaysian Airlines, the airline of the disappearing planes.

Paul sounded good, though he did sound kind of squeaky in that video above. Fortunately, he did not come down with something ... again.

He announced that he would be performing in Japan in April to make up for canceling the previous 2014 tour in the country. Now 72, Paul arrived in Japan in May 2014 for shows in Tokyo and Osaka. However, he called off all of his performances after coming down with a virus. At least that was a better reason than 1980 when he couldn't perform because he was in jail.

Paul McCartney Wings
The abortive 1980 Wings tour left a mark.

Paul had a (surprisingly light) schedule in Japan of only four dates - which, all things considered, and with no intended slight on our Japanese friends, is probably wise. One wonders at the economics of hauling all his stuff and people over there for such a limited schedule, but, hey, he's the billionaire, not me.

We’re coming back, and we are going to rock, we’re going to roll, we’re going to do it together. Let’s have some fun,” Paul promises in his video message above, made available January 29, 2015.

According to Kyodo Tokyo Inc., which organized the tour, Mr. McCartney performed on April 21 in Osaka and on April 23, 25 and 27 at Tokyo Dome. Tickets were available for reservation starting at ¥14,000 ($118).

The betting was that, if demand was there, Paul would add some dates. That's the way Paul rolls, he likes to satisfy the fans when he can. Once he's on the ground and happy, he would probably be willing to spend all spring there if the fans were into it. Japan also happens to be the second largest record outlet in the world after the U.S., so it's good promotion as well. Paul did return - in 2017.

The setlist for 28 April 2015 at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, Japan:
  • Can't Buy Me Love (The Beatles song)
  • Save Us
  • All My Loving (The Beatles song)
  • One After 909 (The Beatles song)
  • Let Me Roll It (Wings song) (with Jimi Hendrix "Foxy Lady" snippet)
  • Paperback Writer (The Beatles song)
  • My Valentine
  • Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five (Wings song)
  • Maybe I'm Amazed
  • I've Just Seen a Face (The Beatles song)
  • Another Day
  • Dance Tonight
  • We Can Work It Out (The Beatles song)
  • And I Love Her (The Beatles song)
  • Blackbird (The Beatles song) 
  • New
  • Lady Madonna (The Beatles song)
  • Another Girl (The Beatles song) (live debut)
  • Got to Get You Into My Life (The Beatles song)
  • Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! (The Beatles song)
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles song)
  • Back in the U.S.S.R. (The Beatles song)
  • Let It Be (The Beatles song)
  • Live and Let Die (Wings song)
  • Hey Jude (The Beatles song)
  • Yesterday (The Beatles song)
  • Birthday (The Beatles song)
  • Golden Slumbers (The Beatles song)
  • Carry That Weight (The Beatles song)
  • The End (The Beatles song)
As always, Paul gave fans their money's worth with a full setlist and even a live debut of "Another Girl."


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beatles Puppets!

Beatles Puppets

Beatles puppets!

Beatles Puppets

This is too cute to ignore.

Beatles Puppets

Credit where credit is due, this is a great homage to Paul and the boys!

Beatles Puppets

Let's hear it for the boys!

Beatles Puppets