Paul McCartney's Back
Now that he’s older, losing his hair, Paul McCartney has put out a new album, Memory Almost Full, stating his point of view. The songs are full of the past that haunts him and leads him to conclude that “all we wear is vintage clothes.” It is a lilting album that leaves us Beatles fans with a sweet and sour experience. In all his songs, except for the few where he is bitter about Heather Mills, Paul is telling us, as The Beatles have for nearly 40 years that “life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting.”
In one of the songs in the album, Paul expresses disbelief that the years have flown by. “Yesterday came so suddenly,” Paul seems to say in his album. There is an element of gloom in his music, which is perhaps what makes it so haunting. The final song on the album is called “The End of The End”:
On the day that I die
I'd like bells to be rung
and songs that were sung
to be hung out like blankets
That lovers have played on
and laid on while listening
to songs that were sung.
Paul’s latest album is disconcerting.. He and his friends were simple
Liverpool boys, jamming and having fun at the Cavern Club. The popularity that followed was frightening. Success turned their heads: it was sex, drugs and rock and roll. Their later albums, influenced hugely by their immense popularity, like The White Album, were individual works with different musicians even while they were marketed under The Beatles label. We didn’t know it then but we still loved the good old rock and roll music. Paul’s latest album is a signal that that we should accept that The Beatles era has drawn to an end; it will, nevertheless, live forever as nostalgia that spans generations and it is up to our children to pass it on to theirs.
Paul, John, George and Ringo made their own way in the world after the split. Their fans kept the band’s myth alive with the serum of nostalgia. In his latest album, Paul seems to be saying that all they did was made good music and later on experimented with new forms of rock. The icon status was bestowed on them and they dealt with it in different ways. In his song, “Ever Present Past,” Paul sings:
I couldn't understand the words that they were saying
but still I hung around and took it all in
I wouldn't join in with the games that they were playing.
The games that Paul laments are the ones we played as fans. We took four
Liverpool boys and put them on a pedestal. They represented our middle class values of rebellion without really giving up the comforts. For me as an adolescent growing up in the confusion of , they made me a member of a global youth community in which music was the currency. Amazingly, they sang about nostalgia to their teenage and adolescent audiences. Why else would “Yesterday” become such a monster hit? India
Time magazine compared the Sergeant Pepper album to the works of Brahms and Schubert. Their “Let It Be” is sung as a hymn in churches worldwide. Such superb music! While coming to grips with their huge global presence, the Fab Four continued to make great music that their fans had to admit was getting better all the time. Paul’s new album renews my faith in The Beatles while he is saying “don’t live in the past.”
The Beatles phenomenon is inexplicable. Especially if you listen to what they have said since the split…that the brand was a burden. They stopped public performances and retreated into the studio on
’s London Abbey Road to produce path-breaking music. They had no idea of the impact they would make all over the world. Their music will forever remain the sound of a changing world, milestones in our journey from the teens to adulthood.
Forty-five years later, The Beatles story is told; all we have is memories and, as Paul says, the memory is almost full.
from daily news and analysis july 25 2007