Memory Completely Full

Paul McCartney wants us to buy his new album.

There’s only one problem, the album is dead.

Are you catching this "Memory Almost Full" hype?  It’s positively deafening.  They’re trying to get the word out, how Paul McCartney’s got a new album, that he’s not an old fart, that he’s breaking the paradigm by signing with Starbucks.

Start with "The New Yorker", the issue with Tony Soprano on the cover.  It’s exactly what you want, a peak into Paul’s life.  Yesterday and today.  Here, there and everywhere.

And then maybe move on to "The Los Angeles Times".  Wherein the theme of the hype is evidenced in its finest form.  A BEATLE goes on about how major labels are dead!

"’I was bored with the old record company’s jaded view,’ McCartney says, plopped on a sofa in the large, comfortable farmhouse that doubles as a rehearsal studio here in the rolling, tree-studded hills of rural East Sussex. Outside, there is an old windmill, and in the near distance, the hazy blue carpet of the English Channel.

‘They’re very confused, and they will admit it themselves: that this is a new world, and they’re a little bit at a loss as to what to do. So they’ve got millions of dollars and X budget … for them to come up with boring ways – because they’ve been at it for so long – to what they call "market" it. And I find that all a bit disturbing.

‘I write it, I play it, I record it, and that’s all fun. And you go to the record company, and it gets very boring. You sit around in rooms with people, and you’re almost falling asleep’ – he rolls his head down midchest – ‘and they’re almost falling asleep.

‘My record producer (David Kahne) said the major record labels these days are like dinosaurs sitting around discussing the asteroid. They know it’s going to hit. They don’t know when, they don’t know where it’s coming from. But it’s sort of hit already. With iTunes, and all of that.’"

Paul McCartney is a man on the run

Always the rebel that Paul, always cheeky.  He shows that he’s up to date, down with the kids, by dissing the old guard.  But then he fumbles by laying upon us a full disc of music that almost no one cares about.

Make no mistake, Paul McCartney’s not in it for the money.  Oh, he wants to get paid, he DESERVES to get paid, but with him it’s about recognition, anointment of his royalty status.  And he’s truly royalty, it’s just that we all stopped paying attention when "Flowers In The Dirt" was hyped as a return to form and wasn’t.  We don’t want our memories fucked with, we don’t want to see Michael Jordan play basketball anymore, we might go to see Paul live, but we only want to hear the OLDIES!

That’s what Paul’s up against, not a lame record company that doesn’t know how to get the word out.  Paul is battling the perception that he’s a has-been, that his hits are behind him, and even though he’s aligned with Starbucks, the perception remains.

I’ve got to tell you Paul, I don’t have time for a full album by ANYBODY!  If you think today’s listeners plop down their ten plus bucks and play your disc over and over again, waiting for it to reveal itself, you’re DREAMING!

No, today it’s about the track, you’ve got to be hooked by the TRACK!

And "Ever Present Past" is not that track.

Gnarls Barkley’s "Crazy" is that track.  I played the entire Gnarls Barkley album because this one fucking song was so infectious, I was just HOPING that there would be more like it, just as good, on "St. Elsewhere".  There weren’t, but that’s today’s game.  Give me just a taste, I’m not signing up for a full course meal, just serve me an appetizer SO good that I’ll LINE UP AT THE RESTAURANT FOR THE FULL MEAL!

McCartney’s obviously whacked.  He thinks that execrable 9/11 "Freedom" song is an anthem, whereas if he was my dad, I’d tell him not to let it out of the studio, that it positively SUCKS!  Couldn’t ONE of the marketers appearing in the "New Yorker" article have raised his hand and said "The rule of the Net, of today is that the music has to be GREAT!"?

The old days of getting people to lay down their money without hearing the music first are passe.  I’ll bet you can ALREADY download all of "Memory Almost Full" on the Net, if you care…  But there hasn’t been any word about the album leaking, because nobody does.

Oh, you say the target market is too stupid, they want the CD.

I hate to tell you, but even baby boomers have iPods.  Hell, they’re PROUD of the new technology, they want to be the first one on their block to get an iPhone!

Maybe that’s what Paul should have done, tied in with Apple, been the one and only track on the iPhone, that’d be better marketing than allowing people to make their own video mixes, hell, that’s so 2006, so Shakira!  And instead of being ubiquitous, that’d be a good plan for McCartney, to be EXCLUSIVE!  You can ONLY hear the song on the iPhone, which would drive people to the Web to find some way to hear it, stealing it or something.  That’s how you create mania, not by banging your lame tunes over my head at Starbucks.

Yup, everybody’s gonna hear McCartney’s tunes at Starbucks tomorrow.  Oh, they’ll sell a few CDs, but in a week or two, if that, NO ONE WILL CARE!  Because the music just isn’t that good.

Four tracks Paul, not thirteen.  Sold ONLY at iTunes.  You’ve got it right that the labels are dead, but you’ve got to jump into the future.  While you’re still in the past.

You want your track known by everybody?  Then don’t lamely try to re-create the second side of "Abbey Road", write a FOOTBALL ANTHEM!  A song that will be played in stadia around the world FOR YEARS!  A new "We Will Rock You" or "We Are The Champions".

God, why couldn’t they get the guy to focus on music first.  If he wrote a song HALF as good as "Yesterday", then people would WANT the album, to see if there were MORE!

But no, all we know about McCartney’s new album is that you can buy it at Starbucks.  Isn’t that like Apple announcing you can buy iPods at Best Buy?  Better yet, Microsoft announcing ZUNES at Best Buy?

Distribution is not the story, ART is the story.  And McCartney’s focus is all wrong.  Give me one good reason to pay attention.  And that’s one killer track.  Hell, it doesn’t have to be "Yesterday", I’ll settle for "Junior’s Farm", maybe even "Helen Wheels".

Or maybe Paul’s just lost the touch.  That’s the real story here.  Do our old rockers still have it?  If they produce something great can it be ubiquitous?

Rod Stewart played it safe.

Bob Dylan never released mainstream product.

The Rolling Stones are a joke.

Tom Petty’s "Last DJ" is mediocre enough to make Jim Ladd quit.

Say it ain’t so Paul.  Tell us you’ve got one great track left in you, that’ll make us believe.  And then we’ll want MORE!  Doesn’t matter if it’s CD or a file.  But it does matter how you serve it up.  Not WHERE you serve it up so much as how you entice us.  Do you marry the girl who gives it up on the first night?  Do the play the World Series BEFORE the season begins?  Lead us so ever gently into the land of quality.

That’s the story of the marketplace today.  There are very few good things out there.  We revel in good stuff, and tell everybody about it.  You missed the boat Paul.  We wanted something better.


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