Sir Paul, Fireman

Paul McCartney proves why he was the best Beatle.

Only partially joking, though he was always my favorite.


This is starting to sound familiar – and it’s a good thing.

Paul McCartney, in his Fireman guise (with collaborator Youth), has a new album, Electric Arguments. And he seems to have gotten over whatever it was he had against digital downloads, because it’s available in a variety of formats, similar to the David Byrne/Brian Eno album from earlier this year.

You can get a digital download for $9. Or a digital download with a CD for $13. Or a digital download, with a CD and audiophile vinyl for $30. Or the deluxe package, with digital download, vinyl, CD, bonus CD of remixes, DVD with hi-resolution audio files, DVD of track stems (for remixing), and special booklet – for $80.

All versions include instant download, as MP3 plus optional FLAC or Apple Lossless format. Plus you can stream the whole album online for free.

Oh, and no DRM anywhere.

The FLAC files are only 16 bit (unlike the Byrne/Eno album), but hey, it’s FLAC. The 24 bit files will come with the deluxe edition. For $9 you can download and burn a perfect uncompressed CD of the album.

It’s not licensed under Creative Commons, but that’s certainly the artists’ prerogative.

This is, more or less, the way the music industry should work.


What about the music? So far, the first few tracks are more enjoyable than anything else Paul McCartney has released in my adult life. Which unfortunately isn’t necessarily saying a lot. But so far, I’ve liked what I’ve heard.

I found the first Fireman album, Strawberries, Oceans, Ships, Forest in a record store back in the mid 90’s. There are no credits on the CD at all, so I had no idea what it was, but I liked it. When it came out that it was a Paul McCartney side project, it seemed a very odd album for him. But still enjoyable.

This is the third Fireman album, and the first in a decade. It’s not as much an ambient/electronica album (like the first two) as it is an experimental remix exercise. The first track, “Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight” sounds like Sir Paul doing a Jon Spencer Blues Explosion cover. Which is a very amusing musical image.

McCartney has always done his best work with collaborators. He seems to have a broken Crap Filter, so having someone else around to serve in that function is a big plus. Youth is a good collaborator for him, and as a result, this album has more energy than last year’s highly rated Memory Almost Full.

Go listen, and if you like, reward the experiment with your pocketbook.

One Comment

  1. Posted 27 December 2008 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Will Apple Lossless be the standard for lossless compressed music? Well, don’t matter, I’d embrace it if iTunes used it as an alternative.

    Guess that Sr. Paul McCartney is pointing the new industry of digital music to a pretty wel defined way. We music fans will be thankfull!

One Trackback

  1. By Pages tagged "jon spencer blues explosion" on 11 December 2008 at 10:15 am

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