Monday, October 22, 2012

Still a Beatle

I saw the TV concert of Paul McCartney with orchestra doing songs from his Kisses on the Bottom album, a handful of carefully chosen evergreen covers and a couple of new songs of his composed in the same style. What stood out the most was what a delicate singer he can be.

After the Beatles, Paul McCartney made a few albums that I enjoyed tremendously: his initial solo album as well as the first couple of records with the Wings. I saw two of the Wings concerts, too, back in the early 1970's. But after a few years, the following albums attracted me less and less, until they just got unbearably cozy. That has little to do with rock'n'roll.

In the decades to follow, Paul McCartney has really just stood out enough for me to notice, when doing old Beatles songs with surprising vitality and delight. That's hard not to adore.

But this TV show was a magnet, although I was really just zapping through the channels. My thumb halted on the remote, as my ears picked up something in his voice, telling me that Paul was getting into this for real. He was singing delicately, taking great care of every word – both its tone and its meaning.

Skilled singing, indeed. But more than that. In his care, the songs were lustfully opening themselves to the listener, as if seduced by Casanova, shivering at his every touch. Paul McCartney proved able to handle each song in just the way it must always have longed for.

And he made it seem so easy, like a child using a bucket to build sand castles on the beach. But it's not that easy for anyone else. Well, whatever else has happened these past decades, Paul reminded me that he was a Beatle, and still is.

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