Do you remember when Panic at the Disco decided to shed their emo roots and make music that
ripped off was inspired by the Kinks
and the Beatles? No? That’s definitely for the best, but since my local
supermarket played a few of those songs every single day for about two years I
can never forget that terrible chapter in a terrible band’s history.
Unfortunately, all of those memories came back to the surface when I heard “New,” the new single from Paul McCartney’s upcoming album of the same name. The Mark Ronson production is clearly trying to ape the brighter tracks on Revolver and the less psychedelic ones on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but the song achieves the same quality as Panic at the Disco’s ill-advised move into nostalgia. Not that I would expect Paul McCartney to make thoroughly modern sounding music; at 71, he’s not going to be on the cutting edge of anything. His last album of original music, 2007’s Memory Almost Full, had some pretty good tunes on it, so there was hope that he still had some good music in him. Yet considering how spotty his solo career has been, from the low points of most of the Wings catalog to his Kisses on the Bottom covers album from last year, I really should know better than to get too excited about a latter-day Paul McCartney record.
But he’s still Paul McCartney, and when an artist of his caliber completely shifts into autopilot and begins putting out assembly line facsimiles of his classic work and expects people to get excited then it’s time to give up on that artist.