The New Lennon-McCartney Song Isn’t What You Expected

James McCartney and Sean Ono Lennon collaborated on a new song

James McCartney
James McCartney performs at The Foundry on June 6, 2016 in Athens, Georgia.
Chris McKay/Getty Images

Last year saw the release of something unexpected: a “new” Beatles song, in which surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr created a new arrangement based around a 1970s John Lennon demo recording. That song, “Now and Then,” prompted heady debates about the merits of the song and the ethics of its creation. And now, less than a year after the release of that song, listeners can take a new song with the surnames Lennon and McCartney credited as writers. Just not necessarily the ones you were expecting.

As Ultimate Classic Rock’s Allison Rapp reports, James McCartney has co-written a song with Sean Ono Lennon. (You can probably figure out they’re related to.) The song’s title, “Primrose Hill,” certainly feels like it wouldn’t have been out of place on a vintage Beatles recording.

“With the release of this song it feels like we’re really getting the ball rolling and I am so excited to continue to share music with you,” McCartney wrote on social media.

The initial verdict? It’s pretty good! It definitely falls into the subgenre of lushly-produced singer-songwriter work known as baroque pop, and there’s a welcome assuredness to it. That isn’t necessarily surprising: both collaborators on this song have been at it for a while. It’s worth mentioning that McCartney has mentioned, in a 2016 interview, collaborating with some of his fellow second-generation Beatles.

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It’s worth mentioning here that McCartney’s collaborator on this song has also had a busy year to date. Earlier this year, Sean Ono Lennon’s album Asterisms was released to solid reviews. Writing at AllMusic, Fred Thomas called it “a blend of cosmic jazz and ambient cinema-scapes with undercurrents of progressive and experimental rock structure throughout.”

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