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Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 19 of X: (Unnecessary but Brilliant) Defense of McCartney

Next up in Rob Sheffield's one-of-a-kind Dreaming the Beatles, which I've been reviewing here now about a chapter a month, because that's the way I like it, is an outstanding defense of Paul McCartney, as only Sheffield with his combination of depth, irreverence, and sheer style could do it.

The thing is - as you'll know from reading almost any one of my previews reviews here (see list at end of this review) - is I don't think McCartney needs any defense.  I find people who don't like his music tone-deaf, jealous, or at best marching to a drummer so different from mine that I have nothing to say to them.  It's not that I love every song McCartney has written and recorded.  It's just that I love more of them then I do any other artist's.  It's not that I don't love Lennon just as much, and that I don't acknowledge that many of Lennon's songs, from when he was with the Beatles (like "Rain") and when he was on his own (like "Jealous Guy" or even "Whatever Gets You Through the Night") as easily as good as or even better than McCartney's best.   It's just I've gotten a little more, in sum, over the years, from McCartney's music than from Lennon's, and this was so even before the unassailably tragic day when Lennon was murdered (my Loose Ends Saga concludes with a time-traveling plan to prevent that).

And it's not that I agree with every move McCartney has made outside of the studio, either.  On a personal level, I imagined that McCartney would contact me after my Vote for McCartney was published in The Village Voice in 1971 (my first published article).   That never happened (but I was thrilled when my son, Simon Vozick-Levinson, got to interview McCartney twice for Rolling Stone decades later).  But regarding McCartney's music - the worst I can say about it is some of his songs and recordings aren't as wonderful as others.  Which is why I think his career needs no defense.

Yet Sheffield's defense is a both a pleasure to read and useful.  I confess to never having heard So Bad, a McCartney song which Sheffield enjoys.  I just listened to it on YouTube, and concur with Sheffield.  (He might have also mentioned two McCartney songs from a little later which are among my favorites - My Brave Face which he wrote with Elvis Costello, and Hope of Deliverance - by, hey, different strokes.)  And Sheffield's takes on various aspects of McCartney's life and career - ranging from quick notes like "he did less to fuck up his good luck than any rock star ever" to a magnificent, extended little essay on Paul McCartney and Cary Grant as two very similar expressions of working class Brits become famous in America - are genius.  (And just for good measure, I agree completely with Sheffield's praise for McCartney's concert in 2016 - my wife and I felt the same about his concert in Hempstead, NY this past Fall.)

All of which adds up to McCartney, though his admirability should be self-evident, is fortunate to have someone with Sheffield's pop-cultural sensitivity and analytic depth writing about him in this destined-to-be classic book.  McCartney doesn't need this defense but he more than deserves it.

And I'll be reviewing more this book soon.

See also Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 1 of X: The Love Affair ... 2 of X: The Heroine with a Thousand Faces ... 3 of X: Dear Beatles ... 4 of X: Paradox George ... 5 of X: The Power of Yeah ... 6 of X: The Case for Ringo ... 7 of X: Anatomy of a Ride ... 8 of X: Rubber Soul on July 4 ... 9 of X: Covers ... 10 of X: I. A. Richards ... 11 of X: Underrated Revolver ... 12 of X: Sgt. Pepper ... 13 of X: Beatles vs. Stones ... 14 of X: Unending 60s ... 15 of x: Voting for McCartney, Again ... 16 of x: "I'm in Love, with Marsha Cup" ... 17 of X: The Split ... 18 of X: "Absolute Elsewhere"

lots of Beatles in this time travel

This post first appeared on Paul Levinson's Infinite Regress, please read the originial post: here

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Review of Rob Sheffield's Dreaming the Beatles 19 of X: (Unnecessary but Brilliant) Defense of McCartney


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