The Fireman | Electric Arguments

MPL/ATO (2008)
By GUSTAVO TURNER  |  November 24, 2008
3.0 3.0 Stars

fireman_inside.jpg

This peculiar collaboration between Paul McCartney and electronic producer Youth — conceived in 1993 as some loose mucking-about sessions to provide mood music for Paul's stadium appearances — has now lasted some five years longer than his decade each with the Beatles and Wings.

Their third offering differs from the previous two in that it comprises actual songs — bona fide McCartney tracks that show off his trademark knack for catchy melodies and hooks. What sets it apart from his non-Fireman solo albums (you know, the ones he sells through Starbucks and promotes on Larry King Live) is a pervading sense of experimentation and repetition, with the less poppy elements that have been part of his musical arsenal since the mid '60s now isolated and put front and center.

Paul has always longed to be "the weird one" as well as "the cute one" — think of the unhinged screaming of "Helter Skelter," the oddness of "Wild Honey Pie," and the familiar "na-na-na-na" of "Hey Jude." With beatmaster Youth as a non-threatening enabler, he gets to unleash his psychedelic bluesman ("Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight"), his inner George Harrison ("Lifelong Passion"), his neo-beatnik ("Two Magpies"), and many other barely repressed personae. Although not as strange as McCartney II or as probing as the jams on the unfairly forgotten Wild Life, Electric Arguments is a worthy addition to the canon of this eccentric gentleman trapped in the body of a pop star.

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