Least glamorous and yet hardiest of the Beatles, Sir Paul McCartney is today living with some harsh reviews of his first ever ballet.
Though his track record of success is unquestionable with a staggering number of top 10 singles courtesy of the Beatles, Wings and his own solo career, not to mention film soundtracks and a symphony (not bad for a man who still can’t read music), it looks like ballet is a step too far for him – if the critics are to be believed.
Having climbed the ladder to celestial heights and campaigned for animal rights, vegetarianism, music education though LIPA as well as ongoing fights against land mines and third world debt, it would be fair to cut McCartney some slack, but the major newspapers feel differently.
Words like ‘forgettable’ and ‘bland’ have been bandied around in the media, unfair for a first effort and even more so when you consider McCartney’s previous achievements. At least the man is still trying to do something positive with his talents.
His musical score for Ocean’s Kingdom, performed by the New York Ballet Society was tackled by The New York Times whose reviewer said the score was “never less than agreeable”, but “in no way an important addition to the corpus of ballet music”, and summed it up by saying: “Ocean’s Kingdom isn’t offensive: it’s just harmless, forgettable, bland, thin and occasionally incompetent.”
The LA Times were less scathing and more subtle in their summary, calling it a “competent Hollywood soundtrack to fairy-tale themed film.”
And not content to miss out with their intellectual input, British posh rag, The Telegraph, stated that , “As the lights dimmed and the dancing started, it was clear that the performance was ballet for beginners.”
Not a good all round review from the critics at all then, but Sir Paul won’t be too down about it. He may not have won them over this time but at least he’s tried to do something different in stead of sticking to a safe old formula like so many other ageing rockers.
Perhaps this is something more though, maybe McCartney is paying the price for surviving whereas his more celebrated counterpart, John Lennon is revered as a messiah almost.
Both men will be remembered as legends in decades to come, but for now, Paul McCartney is still here, still writing and still campaigning for those animals.
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