Artist: Paul McCartney Track: "That Was Me," "Dance Tonight," "Ever Present Past" Album: Memory Almost Full
I'm not crazy about everything on McCartney's upcoming release, Memory Almost Full, but I didn't expect to love every minute recorded in the studio by a genius who shows no signs of slowing down his career as he approaches 65.
In fact, that's why the former Beatle's solo records hit so hard and hold up so well against the test of time: McCartney in the studio, apparently as in real life, can't keep still. He's a shapeshifter, a whirlwind of inventiveness, a maelstrom of ideas likely picked from every record he's ever heard, every nuanced sound he's heard on the street.
Starting with McCartney, released in 1970, the multi-instrumentalist has woven a unique fabric of sound. Both John Lennon and George Harrison eventually went off deep ends - Lennon into politics and Harrison into the gentle, folkish world of the spirit.
Don't let the hipsters tell you otherwise: Paul matters most. Paul. Paul. Paul.
It has been McCartney who has carried the Beatles' torch most expertly - which, I'll say, is what I yearn for most in a post-Beatles career. Only he was able to reproduce the way his former mates made a catchy tune so clever and an inventive cycle so accessible. Only McCartney watered the roots of rock and grew something connected and altogether new.
It is no small feat that he (often alone) could mimic the alchemy of four of the greatest musicians who've ever lived.
Ups and downs populate the songs on this album, but each was clearly crafted by a master who is as skilled as anyone in the basic and extraordinary crafts of the song.
These three are among this stellar album's best tracks.