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Paul McCartney’s “Twin Freaks” Reviewed

2005 was Paul McCartney’s last great year for album releases, while the single +4-5 Seconds” with Rihanna and Kanye West was still a decade away, album wise the last great two were in 2005. This is the first of them, Twin Freaks is a remix album featuring McCartney and Roy Kerr, aka the Freelance Hellraiser. Roy Kerr had been commissioned to remix some of the deeper reaches of the McCartney catalog for Paulie’s  2004 European tour and Twin Freaks comes from the Summer Tour straight onto this double album.

Once you realize that is what is happening,  the album, # 37 pop pickers, shifts into focus. Just this month Paul Simon has started releasing remixes of songs off Graceland, and that is a different aesthetic to this: Simon is attempting a reimagining of his career height album, when you hear what Groove Armada do to “You Can Call Me Al” you are not hearing what Freeland Hellraiser is doing to “Long Haired Lady”. “Long Haired Lady” is mixed towards a complete song with repetitions on newly found hooks, it is made so McCartney’s graceful guitar solo comes out of the mix, and while the audience are patiently awaiting Sir Paul, they can react to some sound coming at them sublimely anticipating the show.

Twin Freaks is not similar to The Fireman, McCartney’s work with Youth was innovative and different, and Twin Freaks isn’t, it isn’t remixing to EDM -it isn’t necessarily about dance at all. Rather, it is remixed to stamp in the brand: the sound, certainly for a big fan like me, is McCartney The Brand. It is there so that, along with the movie that was opening the show, it would be complete immersion in all things McCartney. This is not to hang the DJ with faint praise, though looping “when you were young” and adding a tomtom isn’t state of the art even in 2005. Unlike, say, “Temporary Secretary” which began life as a real synth and proto-pro- tools engineered myth working on song, becomes very similar to what it was here: the song lends itself to bopping synth work and so the track sounds very similar and McCartney’s verses are used very straight. On “What Are You Doing” Hellraiser pinpoints the bass lick and lets it carry him. “Lalula” sounds like an electronic dance band, a Disco Biscuit.

If this is a live show souvenir it is as good a souvenir as you will ever hear and if it is a quasi-artistic deconstruction of McCartney songs it constantly provides fresh hooks. On the back of the album cover McCartney hopes it will rock our little cotton socks…. Mission Accomplished.

Grade: B+


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