Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hello Goodbye

Robert Bunter: James Paul McCartney's gifts as a composer and performer are vibrantly displayed here. An effortless sense of joy just leaps out of the speakers and makes you want to smile. There are those who criticise the relatively lightweight insignifigance of the lyrics (paired with "I Am The Walrus" on a 1967 single, it's one of the most obvious examples of the contrasting songwriting personae of John and Paul), but I say they're missing the point. This is a song for children, senior citizens, people from other countries and hippies, as well as normal adults. Simple words, simple thoughts and a melody that seems like it was already written, just waiting for Paul to pluck it out of the air and give it a fantastic studio arrangement with organs, fiddles and one of those percussion shaker things.

Richard Furnstein: "Hello Goodbye" is perhaps the best example of the complete superiority of Lennon and McCartney as songwriters, the Beatles as performers, and George Martin as a producer. Paul essentially delivers a 1910 Fruitgum Company song (complete with "Simon Says" nursery rhyme lyrics) and a perfect bubblegum melody. The difference here is the little touches. George Harrison is the absolute star of the show here, his backing vocals exemplify the psychedelic backing vocal sound of the time and his guitar touches such as climbing the major scale and a lovely descending figure are absolute gorgeous. "Hello Goodbye" is one of the perfect productions in their catalog and I will go to my deathgrave defending its perfect beauty.

Robert Bunter: Truly, we can all celebrate what Paul was doing here. He's speaking directly to the heart. Spare us your inscrutable riddles and acidhead nightmares, John - we're having a pleasant celebration on Paul's side of the record. Surprisingly, I will make the exact opposite point when we finally get around to examining "I Am The Walrus," one of Lennon's purest artistic triumphs.

It's all candy, they tell us. The colours are there to delight.
Richard Furnstein: Bubblegum music is a beautiful thing, and the Beatles did a lot to add to the art form ("She Loves You" as the shining triumph of the genre). "Hello Goodbye" is an attempt to channel the disposable pop song into a perfect piece of art. Check the promotional clip for "Hello Goodbye," the lads are having great fun (despite the uncertainty that they were facing the death of Brian Epstein and the future psychodrama of the White Album), even playing with their previous moptop image and referencing Elvis Presley's hip shaking. It's all candy, they tell us. Grab every shining nugget in the bowl, children. The colours are there to delight.

Robert Bunter: Paul was the one with the most consciousness of world music. From the Latin flavors of “Step Inside Love” and “Los Paranoias” to the later flirtations with reggae (“C Moon,” “Jet,”) and non-specific exoticism (“Mamunia,” “Kreen Akore,” “Loup (1st Indian On The Moon)”), it was McCartney who was quickest to exploit the groovy sounds and rhythms of faraway cultures. The trick ending on “Hello Goodbye” is a nice example of this tendency. It functions a bit like the gospel explosion at the end of “Ticket To Ride” – the singers and band top everything off by throwing back their heads and shouting with joyful abandon. Better get your passport stamped! Suntanned Paul is ready to greet you with a lei as you disembark from a jet airplane called music. Next stop: Pepperland!

1 comment: