Paul McCartney – Ocean’s Kingdom (2011)

History: Choreographer Peter Martins approached Paul about writing something for ballet, and Paul already had a discarded piece of music in mind that he thought could work. He ended up writing all the music and coming up with a story for the piece as well. His daughter Stella designed the costumes for the performance at the NYC ballet.

My own personal history and initial prediction: I have no real history with the world of ballet in general. I took dance at the age of 3 and have literally no memories of it whatsoever, so I’m guessing I wasn’t good or just wasn’t interested that my parents never signed me up for it again. The movie Black Swan is about as close as I get to familiarity with the artform. Listening to this without the dances to accompany it feels like a disadvantage of really being able to understand the story, but if nothing else I’m glad there won’t be any sopranos or boys’ choir to listen to.

Review: I appreciate the fact that someone took the time to sum up the story of the various movements over on Wikipedia, because I think having that in mind did help me to follow along for most of the journey in terms of what was happening. I could picture when certain songs were meant to be when the villains would arrive, or the grand dance would be happening, or when a character sacrifices themself to save the others. Without reading that first I would have known when various dramatic moments were happening but I probably would have been lost on what they meant.

While I once again have a hard time fully finding myself able to describe these things, I did find it as a whole enjoyable. There was a lot of great orchestration and peaceful melodies, some of which reminds me of the best music you hear in JRPGs like Final Fantasy. It would move from peaceful to tense to sad to happy again and you could really feel the emotions that were being portrayed. In particular I really liked the beginning of the “Hall of Dance” which sounded like a great ball was happening and featured some of the melodies that Paul is so good at crafting. On the other hand I’ll also admit that some of the movements were so long I was also occasionally getting a bit lost.

Overall I’m not sad that this is the last of the classical albums for me to review, just because I do struggle a bit with reviewing them properly. But this is definitely another of the ones that I would happily put on while reading, studying, etc. because it was an enjoyable thing to listen to. If Paul had chosen to abandon popular music and pursue composing for film or stage, it would not have been a great loss for us. He’s fully convinced me that he can happily do either.

Singles released around this time:

“(I Want To) Come Home” – Back in 2009 Paul released this single to accompany the film Everybody’s Fine. It’s a movie starring Robert DeNiro as a father who has lost connection with his adult kids and goes around the country visiting them after they all make up excuses to not come home. Without having seen the film itself, the words at least seem to fit the theme, but the song itself is a little on the bland side. Not bad, just nothing particularly catchy or special about it.

Next Time: Ringo 2012


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