Proving he’s more than the iconic work he did with The Beatles over forty-five years ago, Paul McCartney has yet again placed himself in the musical spotlight. As many of you are probably well aware, McCartney released several songs recently in collaboration with contemporary pop artists. First was his collaboration with Kanye West on the song “Only One” as previously discussed by WRVU earlier this month. McCartney popped up again with Kanye on Rihanna single “FourFiveSeconds”. Finally, it came out just before the Grammys that McCartney is currently working with Lady Gaga.
If you’re unfamiliar with these recent events, check out the “FourFiveSeconds” video:
Now, these collaborations have unsurprisingly stirred up some controversy. First, when “Only One” came out, there were certain individuals online who started a discussion on how kind it was of Kanye to get ‘this Paul McCartney guy’ some exposure. For obvious reasons, many Beatles fans were outraged to hear McCartney being referred to as a recipient of this kind of charity as opposed to being recognized as a talented musician whose contribution to the song was important and substantial. Secondly, many fans have expressed concerns that these new collaborations indicate a certain shift in McCarthy’s work towards a more contemporary, pop-ish focus that is very distinct from his earlier sound. These fans worry that his close contact with these pop artists such as Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Kanye West will lead to an inevitable pop intrusion onto McCartney’s original sound. Interestingly enough, Yoko Ono’s contributions to Jack Antonoff’s project Bleachers did not garner the same negative reactions. Whether it’s due to the differences in fame of McCartney and Ono, or due to the different genres involved in their collaborations, it is difficult to tell with certainty.
That being said, for those of you who are still concerned about McCartney being unduly influenced by these pop collaborations, keep this in mind. Less than two weeks ago, McCartney played a surprise Valentine’s Day show at Irving Plaza in New York where it was reported that he drew from all portions of his long career. So please hold off on your concerns for now — at this point we still don’t know where these new collaborations are going to take him.