The thing is so simple that you might think that, in times of such speed and overstimulation, it can’t work: two guys get together just to talk about music. Of course, in order to work, these two guys have to be interesting and say interesting things. And in this case they do it, and in what way. It’s hard to fail when those two guys are Paul McCartney and Rick Rubin, acclaimed producer who became known as a hip hop precursor in the eighties, became Johnny Cash’s great savior in the nineties, and has since borne his name associated with all kinds of heavyweights, such as Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, U2, LCD Soundsystem, Metallica, Shakira and Eminem.
McCartney 3, 2, 1, the documentary miniseries released by Disney+, could have failed, but it didn’t. He could have done it the easy way: by showing himself as a pamphlet in favor of the McCartney figure, a kind of exaggerated loa, like many musical documentaries of that time, only suitable for the consumption of diehard fans. However, this six-chapter half-hour series makes an extremely interesting journey through the musical work of one of the most important creators in the history of pop, a composer and musician whose best songs are unbeatable references to popular music and part of collective memory. of more than a generation.
In this way, McCartney 3, 2, 1 reminds us of something simple but that seems forgotten: The Beatles were great for everything, but mostly for their songs. After so much wasted ink and videotape to have told its story and anecdotes a thousand times, this series, based on calm, well-directed conversations, puts the value of songs on the table. From the prism of black and white, music is the guiding thread and the ultimate goal to once again marvel at the greatness of the Beatles and, consequently, of McCartney himself, the great composer, with John Lennon, of the band.
McCartney does well to step aside so that what matters is not his name, but the name of the most important band in history. He talks not only about his compositions, but also those of Lennon —to whom he devotes a lot of time, as a way of redemption between the two— George Harrison, Ringo and even intelligently dwells on George Martin, the producer who made them grow. But he doesn’t settle accounts with any past, nor does he place himself above anyone else. As one of the chapters says: Paul himself is there, at the end, half a century later, as a Beatles fan. He’s there to see it all, from Rubin’s stunned and surrendered gaze, and even more importantly, his own gaze, returning to the mystery of many Beatles songs with the joy of someone who knew those times were magical. He’s there, in that recording studio where he and Rubin sit at the piano or pick up a guitar, to show us much of that splendid music laboratory that was the group’s only eight years and to make an effort to remember how they did it. , what pushed them or what surprised them the most of all that great adventure.
An adventure that cannot be understood without songs like yesterday, let it be, With a little help from my friends or Penny Lane, among many others. It’s especially gratifying to know which ideas were executed to create Michelle, but really, the same can be said of almost every composition in which McCartney and Rubin put the scalpel to separate all the organs and give a master lesson in how to make them work, a living organism, that is, a song. There are moments that are genuinely great when the two of them are on the mixing board, basically because they explain the art of songwriting. An art always reduced to entertainment, even in the case of the Beatles, but which in this series is shown with amazing ease, and which is full of genius, courage, coincidences and freedom, the word Paul uses most to explain what drove him to the fabulous from Liverpool to his sonic exploits. Because, in addition to a brand, a sticker and a name as well known in the world as Jesus Christ, the Beatles were fantastic songwriters. Everything else is super important, but always an addition.
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