Friday 28 April 2023

When I was younger, so much younger than today

I'm conflicted: some bright spark/Beatles fantasist has created an AI version of Paul McCartney's vocal 'singing' a song he put out on his Egypt Station album in 2018. You can see where this is going, can't you? So now we have 1973 era Macca 'interpreting' (wrong word, I know, in this context but it's all I've got at the moment) a song his older self wouldn't write and record  for another forty odd years; a song that the younger Macca would never have written - the context of the lyric coming, as it does, in the twilight of McCartney's career - swathed in melancholia and reflective of a life lived. The 30 year old recent ex-Beatle was far too busy getting Hi Hi Hi. 

Paul McCartney  I Don't Know (AI - 2023)

Like I say, I'm torn. Yes, this is the register the octogenarian would give his right arm to be able to sing in (again), but the beauty of I Don't Know (and a few of his other latter day cuts) is that it suits perfectly Macca's limited (it has to be said) vocal range he is now constrained by. 

And for that reason, and that reason alone, I'm telling everyone to disregard my normal mantra - 'Everything was better in the 70s' - and, instead, savour this beautiful Paul McCartney composition in the format it was intended to be heard. Am I right? Am I wrong?

Paul McCartney - I Don't Know (2018)


  1. Think I agree. One of the great joys of watching him at Glastonbury last year was simply because at age 80, he was there, entertaining festival-goers of all ages. It really didn't matter that the vocals weren't as they used to be, what was important was that he had this massive back catalogue of songs to choose from and that he seemed to be really enjoying singing them (for 2 and a half hours!).

    1. I've seen him twice and yes, both times he knocked it out the park. I said in a piece I wrote about him when Egypt Station came out five years ago that we should treasure him while he's here; he can't have much left in the tank.

    2. Rereading this now it kinda makes me sound churlish; you probably can't tell that I love the bloke to pieces.

  2. Wow. This is the first AI 'revision' of a song that I've least, as far as I'm aware! It helped that I wasn't familiar with the original version of I Don't Know (or the Egypt Station album) but I started with that first before trying the AI version.

    I'll be honest and say to my untrained ear and general ignorance of McCartney's solo career, if someone had told me that the AI version was a vintage 1970s song, I may not have questioned it at first listen.

    Even the reflective lyrics would not have been a red flag to an extent, given Paul's propensity for inhabiting the characters that he writes about.

    However...I'm with you 100% on the beauty of I Don't Know being written and performed by the then-76 year old McCartney. There's a gravitas, a spark that the artificially more accomplished vocal can't match.

    This is a slippery slope, isn't it? I wonder how long before someone has a go at (re)imagining New Order's catalogue with Ian Curtis, for example?

    1. I think it has a certain novelty value, K; with auto tuning already being so massive, and now this, it essentially means that we can make any 'human' noise we like. Worrying. (Espicially if you think of the non-musical implications.)