Friday, September 09, 2005

Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder: Ebony and Ivory

Every once in a while I have to applaud those songs so odious; they are an aural tummy ache. While a good bit of time has passed, there's no time for nostalgia, you're frankly happy there's even more road separating you from said recording. That recording is Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder's "Ebony and Ivory" a paean for understanding gone horribly wrong.

"Ebony and Ivory" was indeed possibly both of their worst performances. The production here is so enervated, it's like the blandest offering of its time.Around this era Wonder sang with an extremely nasal tone. It was the same one that nearly nuked "That Girl." Oddly enough "Do I Do" had him back in form. McCartney? Well he's a tad smug here, so corny, like he didn't really care about the lyrics or the song. For that matter, Stevie's not exactly selling this bunk either. It's just there--and was it ever a big hit. The guys also sang together on the funky, "What's That You're Doing." It's on McCartney's 1982 classic "Tug of War."

Of course one can't think of this track without thinking of the video. In short, this was crude video, a low concept, tons of hooey and the world's biggest piano. The one this I took from this is how idiotic Paul McCartney looked in this. The part where he sauntered across those gigantic piano keys was especially unsettling. Stevie? Well he was sitting down, thankfully oblivious to the tragedy that was taking place. Oddly enough this whole deal seemed to maximize their oddities. The song and video made McCartney more self-satisfied and remote and Stevie never seemed more blind.

Ashamed of the skid mark this left on their oeuvre, McCartney and Wonder seem to often skip this gem on their respective greatest hits collections. In fact, "Ebony and Ivory" really hasn't been played too much since its chart run. That's great, great news...
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