One Track Mind: Paul McCartney, “Hope” from Destiny (2014)

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It’s funny. This is exactly the kind of instantly recognizable epic moment that Paul McCartney’s nervy, crisply modern New stayed away from — a bow-on-it song that typically would find its place toward the end of one of his older solo albums.

Think the “Power Cut” medley to close out 1973’s Red Rose Speedway.Treat Her Gently/Lonely Old People” from 1975’s Venus and Mars.Through Our Love,” from 1983’s Pipes of Peace. “C’mon People” from 1993’s Off the Ground. “Beautiful Night” from 1997’s Flaming Pie.

Same here. The wholly expected stringed army is in place for “Hope,” and McCartney is making impossible promises about gleaming days ahead. In the end, it’s McCartney being, well, McCartney.

Occasionally, in the past, he would cut against this stereotype by tacking on some kind of goof to follow these anthemic pieces of fluff — a snippet of a soap-opera theme on Venus and Mars, a grinding found object on Off the Ground, the lilting “Great Day” on Flaming Pie. But, more often, he would simply leave us with these unapologetically sincere, shamelessly corny moments.

And, really, who could blame him? It’s always been a part of McCartney, something that traces back to his vaudevillian youth — a cutesy, faux-ageless thing that, for his deepest fans, remains part of his charm.

And that brings us to “Destiny,” a song constructed for the first-person shoot-’em-up video game Destiny with the express notion of reaching a new audience, the young person who may have heard of McCartney but only in the sense that Baby Boomers had heard of Bing Crosby. The comparison is sadly apropos, actually.

Instead of indulging in the New, McCartney went decidedly old. As the 120-piece orchestra swoons over the closing credits of Destiny, and as the very sincere former Beatle croons, you can’t help but wonder what that kid is thinking — the one was wasn’t born when Flaming Pie came out, much less Venus and Mars. You could easily see him comparing “Hope” to Bing. But he likely doesn’t know who Crosby is, either.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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