Paul McCartney has been hearing the same (unfair?) criticism of his musical output for the past fortysomething years, something that goes roughly like this: “Meh, it’s not as good as his Beatles stuff.” This happened with Wings, his collaborations with Michael Jackson, and all of his solo material, due in no small part to McCartney’s aversion to making music that sounds anything like the tracks he wrote with John Lennon. However, on his new single, Macca has teamed up with the acclaimed producer Mark Ronson, the mastermind behind the retro sound of Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black and Christina Aguilera’s Back To Basics, the results of which sounddare we say it?—positively Beatles-esque.
To be clear, we have not heard any additional songs off New (due out October 15) besides the title track, which was released last week. That said, “New” sounds like it could fit nicely alongside Paul McCartney’s Rubber Soul/Revolver-era output. In particular, its bouncy rhythm reminds us more than a little of “Got To Get You Into My Life,” thanks in large part to Ronson’s famed ability to add lively horns to a track.
One would think that this “return to form,” if you will, would inspire the legions of people who found themselves swept up in Beatlemania at one point in their lives (and have been clamoring for McCartney to allow that period to serve as inspirado for new material) to head straight to the iTunes store to either buy the single or pre-order the album, but weirdly enough, it has not. Neither the single nor the album shows up in their respective iTunes Top 200 charts, which means you have to burrow down to the iTunes Rock Charts to find the single, where it currently sits at #23 behind songs like “Eye Of The Tiger,” “Hotel California” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” So, what gives?
Noted industry curmudgeon Bob Lefsetz put it thusly in his latest Lefsetz Letter: “It’s just not good enough. Sure, he worked with Mark Ronson, but someone was afraid to tell him to push it just a little bit farther, because just like the AM radio of the sixties, Top Forty only has time for the best. If your track is not positively great, it’s got no room for you.”
Well, what say you?