Brian Wilson, “Wanderlust” from The Art of McCartney: Something Else! sneak peek

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You can be forgiven for not getting more worked up about curiously faithful renditions of “Hello Goodbye” and “Eleanor Rigby,” by the Cure and Alice Cooper respectively. No, the crown jewel of the forthcoming multi-artist Art of McCartney tribute album — it would seem, from the first — was going to be Brian Wilson’s take on “Wanderlust.”

There was the obvious musical link, going back to the competitive days of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club, by Paul McCartney’s old band the Beatles. There was the timing, coming as it does amidst a more recent creative renaissance for Wilson that has included an involving new version of the lost classic SMiLE and a long-awaited reunion with the remaining members of the Beach Boys.

There was, maybe most of all, the fact that “Wanderlust” was both uniquely suited for Wilson’s sense of roving wonder — and, as a deep cut from McCartney’s 1982 solo album Tug of War, had a lot more tread left on it than a huge hit like “Eleanor Rigby.”

This advance clip, which finds Wilson’s lead laced with his own double-tracked background vocals, shows that it will be more than worth the wait. He buoys the song upward, toward an impossibly hopeful place, while underscoring the underrated gift that Paul still had with a lyric, even at that late date.

Their connection is renewed, as is the hope that The Art of McCartney — due November 18, 2014, via Sony — will be more than what the Cure and Cooper have already given us.

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