The Art of McCartney
Shoreditch Music PLC/Columbia/Bulletproof Recording/The Label
From the pompous title to the absurd and slightly desperate claim that this is The songs of Paul McCartney sung by the world’s greatest artists – (where’s the rejoinder, and Cheap Trick for starters…too easy…) down to the ugly, borderline-blasphemous and mostly just really shitty music this is one ugly and totally unnecessary “Tribute”.
McCartney of course craves adulation and/or adoration and wants that critical acclaim to match his sales – and since The Beatles broke up the best of McCartney’s work with Wings and solo has been often a bit of a guilty pleasure for some, a secret club for others. And unfairly maligned by far too many. This compilation won’t help in any way – and almost makes a mockery of some of his finest work. There are Beatles songs here too of course but most of them are ghastly – as if the world needs another Beatles cover version.
And in most cases you find yourself almost-applauding people for making it through without completely embarrassing themselves – Dr. John on Let ‘Em In and Allen Toussaint with Lady Madonna for example. But too often it’s elevator mawkishness and redundant tosh. Having Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr and Jamie Cullum on the same album covering the same songwriter is like some Russian Doll serving up musical shit-sandwiches.
Def Leppard and Sammy Hagar and Cheap Trick and Heart and Roger Daltry and Paul Rodgers and the business-duo half of KISS and Alice Cooper are all downright atrocious here. And really one Foo Fighters track could have done the work they’re all desperately wrestling with.
Bob Dylan probably comes out of this best – but that’s largely because he doesn’t give a shit what you or Paul think of his work. This, or any. Whereas everyone else here seems so pleased with themselves. And even as they put on kid-gloves and try to play nice they’re still using sledgehammers to crack the nut in search of those wonderful, infectious melodies.
Oh god this is just so unbelievably, insultingly shit. The biggest star-fuck in a while, the worst tribute album I’ve heard since this breathtakingly awful Buddy Holly tribute (many of the usual suspects in fact prove themselves repeat offenders).
There’s just no essence here. No reason. None of the great hooks. None of the feel. No soul. It shows you too, that Paul – even at his worst – had some sort of strange and wonderful knack in playing with (and around) pomp. And then there’s all the sublime stuff – which here is pretty much lined up against the wall and splattered with paintball pellets.
Almost mesmerising in its ghastliness – the futility of this exercise has been outdone by just how revolting the finished product is.