In 1989 Paul McCartney released Flowers in the Dirt, a record I played to death due to the inclusion of songs co-written by Elvis Costello. In my book, these are two of the best living songwriters, period, end of sentence, cap on the pen, close the book, burn the book, but save the pen. You may need it later, maybe in 2017, 28 goddamn years later when the remastered record has been re-released including nine original demos recorded by Paul and Elvis all those years ago.
Paul has spoken a lot about how Costello/McCartney had some eerie similarities to Lennon/McCartney. Two brilliant songwriters facing each other writing on acoustic guitar, Paul left handed, John and Elvis right handed – a mirror image. And Costello, who learned about harmonizing from Beatles records, was the perfect sonic foil to McCartney. So much so, that these demos are downright Beatlesque – something McCartney avoided like the plague throughout his post-Fab Four output. Kudos to Elvis for coaxing that genius from Paul, whose previous record (Press to Play) has its moments, but doesn’t stand up to the best records of the era like Graceland by Paul Simon or So by Peter Gabriel.
These demos are downright Beatlesque.
These demos are downright Beatlesque.
Paul sums it up by saying he ultimately didn’t want to make “an Elvis Costello record,” although he agrees the demos are likely better than the released versions. They are. Raw and fresh, recorded hastily after multiple three hour writing sessions, warts and all. Demos for So Like Candy and That Day is Done stand beside some of the Beatles best work. I shit you not.
So, how is disc one?
Uhm… it’s still great, but there’s a noticeable lack of a cohesion, let’s be honest. It’s several albums kinda smushed together. Beatleseque tracks like My Brave Face are side by side with the plaintive yet bombastic We Got Married (with David Gilmour soloing), which is a few tracks ahead of the dancey experiment Où Est le Soleil. In between you have some solid tracks like the earnest Put it There and the cheese-fest How Many People. But hey, it’s Paul McCartney, even his worst songs outshine most artist’s best work.
It’s not too late for these guys to make a great record together. Put your ego aside, Paul. The clock is ticking, mate. Kanye can wait.
McCartney III is Coming Up!
McCartney III is the 18th solo album by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, scheduled to be released on December 11th 2020 by Capitol Records. Like the first two self-named McCartney solo records in 1970 and 1980, McCartney III features Paul on all instruments.
McCartney III promises to be a return to form for Paul, who wrote, produced, and recorded the record in quarantine.
DJ PREMIER VS THE RZA
Music continues to make this unprecedented global quarantine an unexpected treat. On Easter Eve two of the grittiest producers of our generation treated us to a trip down memory lane. DJ Premier and The RZA served up a slew of timeless joints blow for blow. Every cut invoked memories of a time when the critics and fans were universally aligned in appreciating creativity.
Over 150 thousand people zoned in and listened to these legends drop over 40 tracks of pure excellence! The tracks featured the likes of The Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr , Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Kanye West, Jeru the damaja, M.O.P, Big L, Mary J Blige, Christina Aguilera and many more. It was a Masters class in Hip Hop phonics and the genre’s students around the globe were all tuned in to hear it!
For the unfortunate ones that managed to miss this moment of history, here’s a visual representation of some of the subject matter presented!
Mass Appeal – Gang Starr (The ultimate drive through other people’s neighborhood joint)
Liquid Swords – GZA (This made a lot of MC’s re-evaluate their penmanship)
MC’s Act Like They Don’t Know – KRS-One (DJ’s go to record to make sure their speakers were up to the task)
Wu-Tang Clan – Protect Ya Neck (If getting jumped was a record)
Nas Is Like – Nas (The record that made everyone rewind the first line like wtf did he say?!)
Brooklyn Zoo – Ol Dirty Bastard (The Brooklyn invitation to let everyone know you there)
Yes you definitely played yourself if you decided to cut instagram class tonight! The aforementioned treats were only a couple of lessons shared during this session of night school.
Shout out to the Principals (Swizz Beatz & Timberland) of battles in enhancing our quarantine curriculum by inviting these Professors of Hip Hop. Not only did they raise the bar in competition and quality but they surely injured some necks after the evening’s engaging lecture!
This class originally began with a syllabus calling for one A at the end of the semester. But the students rightfully revolted by keeping it Hip Hop and changing the rules to award the whole subject matter an A+. So on behalf of everyone with an ounce of flavor in their blood, THANK YOU PREMIER & RZA! We appreciate you!
Janita in Love
ECR Music Group recording artist Janita releases her new single “I Do” today, apropos of Valentine’s Day, and you won’t be able to get it out of your head.
The follow-up to “Bliss I Once Had This,” “I Do” is the second single off her new album, Here Be Dragons, dropping May 1st. It’s an honest-to-goodness anthem of love, saying more with less, and building to a gorgeous frenzy upon that killer rhythm section of Justin Goldner on bass and the incomparable Miles East on drums. Damn, that bass, tho.
Is there anything you can say to someone that’s more affectionate than I see you, I got you? Isn’t that the kind of love we all dream of? In that way the song is as much about the subject as the singer, adding to its depth and beauty.
“I have a restless soul, an innate curiosity which pushes me to learn, and to change. Uncharted territory is terribly exciting for me. I often feel like I’m on the edge of something new, even with those I’ve loved for years and years. ’I Do’ is about the renewal of one’s love for someone––love being the most thrilling of all uncharted territories––and a renewal of one’s commitment to exploring all the corners of the map of that relationship.”
Both Janita and producer Blake Morgan are the rare breed of artist that continue to grow in leaps and bounds with each new record, when you wouldn’t expect things could get any better. Janita says more in a two word chorus than many musicians do in a whole song. And Blake’s production has only gotten smoother, smarter, and more focused with every release. “I Do” is another shining example of the continued thoughtful collaboration between the two.
Do you believe two artists can find the perfect partner in each other? I do.
Catch Janita’s album release on April 30th at New York’s legendary Rockwood Music Hall.