Paul McCartney gives his heart...

We know... he likes Kanye now... his call...

 

There is no more romantic cornerstone to the history of human art than the idea that great art is born from a state of crisis. Paul McCartney’s 1971 opus “Ram” is one of the most pure musical examples of such a belief. It is an album upon which the “cute Beatle” was to lay all of his problems on the table – and not just his problems with fellow ex-Beatles – but his problems with the abstract world as a whole in all of its fragmented sixties pieces. His problems in the first song alone list those who are “going underground”, those who are “reaching for a piece of cake”, those who are “looking for their lucky break” and even those who are “preaching practices”. His opening salvos is against the inactive and the lazy. It was as close to Picasso as music was ever likely to get – Paul McCartney’s holiest singular vision. What does the greatest songwriter on the planet do after being in the greatest band of all time? Answer: go to a farm in the North of Scotland and write music with the love of your life. Create. Be an artist. Plant trees if you need a rest. Maybe even ride a horse. But only do it because you have to. Only make music because you have to. The words that I would want to utter to the great Sir Paul if his bent ear ever lent my way – would be to tell him that people can take their Dark Side of the Moons and Ok Computers to the Armageddon of sad old chin-strokers – for Ram could be released tomorrow and sound like it was recorded in 10 years time. It is an album that trades sun for darkness then back again – an album that reads like a musical novel in a way which Sgt Pepper could only dream of. In other words – Ram is a masterpiece (again... we know... he likes Kanye now).

 

Whether Paul had just one eureka moment or a series of smaller tokes – one can imagine that Paul was a pretty cocky sod taken down from a perch by the time the Fab Four folded arms and no longer held them out as eight in equal form. Chances are that Paul might not have known until he heard the playback of “Smile Away” in the studio head phones that he could make godfibre music as good as his old band (at least in our bleedin' boook... and Alan Partridge's).

 

By the time side two of the album has begun Saint Paul has already let you know that he can do it all – from the mad children’s opera of “Uncle Albert” – to the guitar driven blues of “Smile Away” – to the choral call of “Dear Boy” – to the up tempo, country jazz of “Heart of the Country”. The whole album is something that no one ever gives Paul credit for – for Paul is never thought of as the ultimate tortured artist. For all the millions of words devoted to “sappy Paul” – there is no sweetness found in “Monkberry Moon Delight” – so don’t get left behind. The five-and-a-half-minute altrock screamer is a warning more than an open “fuck you!” It is Paul at his most honest – an artist opening up to his audience about where he is at – yet with one arm held out and one arm holding off – the King of the Geminis – ego always getting in the way of saying ‘I love you’ too often – again the perfect trait of the tortured artist – for the tortured artist is not the comet that sparks like a flicker – the Johns or ones who are crucified for their cause. The Rembrandts and the Beethovens lived into ripe old age and Leadbelly played live in grey-haired old time haka pose – just as Picasso cast shadows of art until he keeled – for they were the ones who lived through the dramas and wore it on their shoulders – the ones who lived not the ones who died – for the ones who live are the ones who feel the pain. Ram is even more than a simple message to John Lennon. Paul would never have been that focused in his anger or hurt. Ram is a broad statement that he can be as interesting as the Beatles – for he is an artist unto himself – and anyone who dares knock this theory needs to tell me the last time they listened to Band on the Run or McCartney for that matter?

 

Was John Lennon right all along? Was the break up of the Beatles really that important? Did it really matter? Opinions are free in the modern world – and we are all living Raphaels – all living artists and spinners – but of what? The substance of Ram most would love. Wait for the finale of the ukulele fade out on the “Ram” reprise – bleeding quickly into the epic ballad of the Mexican borders of “Back seat of my car”. It is the sound of Paul and Linda no longer being lost – just on the journey. The song – like the rest of the album – begs the world to stop wasting time – for love is long but life is short and Paul is busy working on another masterpiece about us all – living in a state of crisis - so we'll shut up now...

 

And we know... now he likes Kanye...

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