I really wasn’t surprised when I heard that Paul McCartney was on the single Kayne West released this past New Years day. It wasn’t out of the realm of who this knight and former Beatle has collaborated with in the past (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Nirvana) in order to keep his chops up and chart top 10 again.
I really wasn’t surprised when I heard that Paul McCartney was on the single Kayne West released this past New Years day. It wasn’t out of the realm of who this knight and former Beatle has collaborated with in the past (Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Nirvana) in order to keep his chops up and chart top 10 again. Then there is Kayne himself, who is no stranger to getting what he asks for; so why would getting a Beatle be a problem? No surprise that said song Only One is playing as a precursor to more songs the two concocted in a studio late last year. Even the song itself has no groundbreaking production; just Sir Mac vamping on what sounds like an old Fender Rhodes electric piano left over from it’s days in a Let it Be track. Everything is auto tuned and typical of a West vocal style. Nothing here appeared to be out of the public’s expectations.
The surprise came when stories broke that Kayne’s fan base supposedly has no freakin’ clue who Paul McCartney is. They wouldn’t be able to know the difference between him and Ringo Starr let alone The Beatles (if you believe what a plethora of media outlets are reporting). Most of the evidence has been selected screen captures from Tweets by alleged fans of Mr. West, some of which may be trolls having fun with McCartney’s attempts to show he can still relate to today’s pop music. I did a small straw poll for myself and asked my son’s (7 and 9) if they knew who he was by name first (no idea) and then by the group’s name (recognized the Fab Four). I also asked two under twenty counter servers whose eyes lit up at just the mention of Kayne and then completely glazed over when McCartney’s name was dropped.
You can’t blame the younger audience really. While their exposure to music is now limitless in terms of song shopping, the cyber shelves are usually promoting and marketing only the current hit makers. One has to be a discerning music fan (and maybe blessed with some elder guidance) when searching for any historical perspective. You might be able to blame those bands who did not recognize the importance of the new music delivery system. The Beatles themselves were very late coming to the table in offering their catalog to Apple’s I Tunes.
In a sense, there is no better tribute to a “legacy” artist, than having someone with contemporary status introduce their audience to a musician who has influenced their careers. The recent collaboration between Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett comes to mind as a good example of cross generating genres and exposing a part of the artist’s roots in the process of educating the masses to classic talent.
So, even if we are cynical of the impact a Beatle will have on the sales of new Kayne West music, you have to give him (West) credit for his desire to woodshed with a genius and use his bully pulpit to bring attention to a great songwriter who history has proven worthy with the test of time. Will we be able to say the same thing about Mr. West.