Looks like McCartney 3, 2, 1 is not a winner. I don’t want to spoil the party, but the fact of the matter is that there isn’t much here to write home to grandma about.
Don’t buy into the hype, and know that all this comes from a fan on a Ripley’s-like level. The best thing about this whole snoozefest is McCartney’s Look, which borrows heavily from that of Paul Weller. Like Weller’s, it succeeds, and that’s saying a lot. Most geriatric rockers who opt for that kind of thing fail miserably. Those two pull it off. Kudos to the both of you.
What you get with McCartney 3, 2, 1 is 3 black and white turd-polished hours of a humble Rick Rubin (the Captain Lou Albano thing is getting old by the way ) encouraging McCartney’s telling of the same stories we’ve heard over and over again, once fascinating stories ruined by repeated retellings. If you’re looking for something truly revelatory, check out the interviews on YouTube with tape engineer Geoff Emerick and assistant Richard Lush. Emerick, surprisingly, doesn’t recall any of the Beatles mentioning anything about the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds during his time with the group in or out of the studio. I always thought it was interesting how McCartney’s holy grail opinion of the LP kicked in around the same time as the mass-media revisitation of Pet Sounds in the early 1990s. Maybe McCartney’s Catholic upbringing got the better of him, and he decided to do an unhinged Brian Wilson a big favor by giving it his stamp of approval. (Honestly, is Pet Sounds that good, like Revolver good?)
Time will tell if all that’s true or not, especially if Mark Lewisohn is once again given permission from Apple to research its trove of tapes, films, and documents, which leads me to the real point of this critique/rant. What McCartney has served up post Band on the Run has been of marginal quality, entertaining at best, embarrassing at worst. What he’s done artistically for the last 45 years or so hasn’t been that much different from your average Joe’s continual weekly bowling nights. They’re fun, but they don’t add up to a whole lot.
Not so with McCartney’s work with the Beatles. It’s a body of work that would give God’s creation of the world a run for its money. And because of that, the story behind it deserves an attention to detail nothing short of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Mark Lewisohn has proved time and time again that he is indeed the man for the job. So Paul, I beseech thee, do something really worthwhile and memorable for the first time in such a long time. Give Mark back the keys to the kingdom so he can complete his Beatles trilogy in order that your otherworldly legacy will be laid out with all the painstaking precision and objectivity it so deserves.