There are times in this world when you just want to stand there with your jaw dropped on the floor, marveling at people. There are not enough forehead slaps to express the depth of it.
Such is the case after Kanye West and Paul McCartney collaborated on the rapper's release Only One, inspiring an army of fans to hit the interweb, destroying music and the English language all in one fell swoop.
"I don't know who Paul McCartney is, but Kanye is going to give this man a career w/ this new song!!" one genius Tweeted.
"This is why i love kanye for shining light on unknown artists," pecked out another.
"Kanye has a great ear for talent. This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge," another says.
One person was so far off, he wanted to know who "Paul McArthy" is. The future of America.
"Who is Paul McCartney? ... Paul McCartney is obviously using Kanye for fame," one woman Tweeted.
Some satirists jumped on the bandwagon, pretending not to know the rock and roll hall of famer. At least I hope they are pretending; they can't possibly be as dim as they sound.
The day after his Tweet about McCartney being a young nobody, one guy messaged, "Oh s--t sorry! I didn't know Paul McCartney or whatever was apart of The Beatles! Who knew people remembered bands from the 40's!"
Another's follow-up Tweet: "Guys please leave me alone, I love the Beatles ok! smells like teen spirit is one of my favourite songs!! stop telling me j don't know music." That's right, homeboy managed to misspell "I."
My favorite reaction was by someone calling herself miss_raej: 'People tweeting "unknown artist's career is gonna blow up" thanks to working with Kanye West. It's Paul McCartney. *screams internally*'
Indeed, though, the McCartney kid may just have a future in the music business. You might say he has a tiny foothold, with 60 gold albums and over 200 million record sales to his credit. More than 2,200 artists have covered his Beatles song "Yesterday," more than any other copyrighted song in history. He helped to virtually create entire genres of music and spin the world from the folk generation into rock n roll.
Remember when Kanye bragged, "Rap is the new rock and roll. We the rock stars, and I'm the biggest of them all." Delusions are wonderful things.
On various recordings, McCartney played every instrument in his bands - elecric and acoustic guitar, bass, horns, drums, keyboards. Musicologist Ian MacDonald described his natural skill as "by nature drawn to music's formal aspects yet wholly untutored ... McCartney produced technically 'finished' work almost entirely by instinct, his harmonic judgement based mainly on perfect pitch and an acute pair of ears ... A natural melodist--a creator of tunes capable of existing apart from their harmony."
I suppose it is not surprising, perhaps even inevitable, that people may no longer know a giant in music; as those of us growing up in the '70s and '80s might be excused for not recognizing Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Eddie Arnold, Glenn Miller or Cab Calloway.
McCartney, though, is what we all should be - a person who never stops working, experimenting and learning.
In my humble estimation, comparing McCartney to Kanye would be like comparing Babe Ruth to a little league outfielder... or maybe the guy who mows the grass at the little league field. A legendary performer of his stature needs Kanye West about like a supermodel needs a nasty case of back acne.
But it is an endearing thing, that a 72-year-old rock pioneer is still touring, still composing new material in half a dozen different genres, still taking chances, and still willing to collaborate with new generations of artists.
It's hardly something new for Macca - he's teamed with everyone from Michael Jackson and Bill Joel to Badfinger, Elvis Costello and Dave Grohl. Next up, we hear, is a McCartney/West/Rihanna tune.
In 1993 a group called the Fireman released an album of experimental music called Strawberries Ocean Ships Forest. It wasn't until recently that the band's identities were revealed. You can guess who. You go, Sir.
It is a bit sad that many young adults today may not know much of the musical greats that came before hip hop and celebrity brat pop. Makes you wonder if they know much of the great visual artists, filmmakers, poets and novelists of the past either. (I imagine them walking into a library. "Hey this new Robert Frost kid isn't too bad. He should get a blog.")
On the bright side, consider. They have a whole world of great music still to discover someday. And when they do, these Beatle guys might just have a future.