Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Somedays" / Paul McCartney

Sometimes you don't take the CD out of the player for a few days -- that's how it's been with Paul McCartney ever since I wrote that last post. Circumstances have conspired to keep me in a Macca mindset. I was lucky enough to behold him in the flesh on Monday, signing CDs at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square (I didn't get any CDs signed -- didn't have the stamina to camp out on the sidewalk overnight) and then got to see him AGAIN the next night at Carnegie Hall at the US premiere of his new classical piece, Ecce Cor Meum. I'll admit I was rendered helpless and giddy by the tractor beam of his...well, his Paulness. I make no apologies for this: Part of the deal with being a female rock fan is that you also get to fall in love with the rock star of your choice. Just because.

At Carnegie Hall, the first half of the program included several of Paul's songs arranged for string quintet and classical singers. Okay, I stifled a giggle at hearing "My love does it good" sung ponderously by an operatic soprano, but this arrangement made perfect sense when a tenor got up to sing "Somedays"; Paul's own recording of it, on the album Flaming Pie, already has a string quartet and a harpsichord. (He's mined that vein successfully ever since "Eleanor Rigby"; remember how radical it was back then for a rock band to use a string quartet?).

This is a hauntingly beautiful song, shifting in and out of major and minor keys; I think it's one of Paul's most mature lyrics, all about two partners stumbling through life, clinging to each other through the ebb and flow of a long-term relationship. "Sometimes I laugh, I laugh to think how young we were / Some times it's hard, it's hard to know which way to turn...." Paul's voice is so sincere, with that eloquent little warble at the end of a line, that you find yourself buying it totally. Nobody can outdo this man at the top of his game.

Ecce Cor Meum
is not exactly a perfect work (and even I could see that it's a bit of a classical mash-up), but those soaring melodies, the yearning harmonies -- only Paul could get away with this. It's all about love being the greatest thing in the world, and music being the pure expression of the soul, and it struck me the other night that Paul McCartney actually believes that love is all you need. Well, God bless him for it. Maybe he's right.

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