Did Paul McCartney Ride The Colbert Bump To Coachella?

When Paul McCartney appeared on The Colbert Report last week, the show’s hilariously egotistical host explained that the cute Beatle would shortly experience an uptick in popularity often referred to as “the Colbert bump.” Days later, McCartney was handed headliner status at the popular hybrid music showcase known as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

Coincidence? Let’s weigh the evidence.

McCartney’s last several musical efforts have been exercises in somnolent pop. His 2007 full-length, Memory Almost Full, was known more for its cryptic anagrams to Linda McCartney and love songs to Heather Mills than for its crowd-pleasing rock (the kind that usually gets Coachella crowds on their feet). The record was released on Starbucks’ Hear Music label, a product tie-in that added to McCartney’s
commercial exploits with Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.

Throw in the fact that McCartney’s music has played out more in the tabloids recently than it has onstage, and you have a curious headliner for a music festival that was once known for its indie spirit.

On the flip side, McCartney’s recent album, Electric Arguments, the third release from his collaboration with The Killing Joke’s Youth (aka The Fireman), is arguably the loudest thing he has done since he dropped Band on the Run with his rock outfit Wings. And while most of the angry noise is concentrated in one track, the allegedly anti-Mills anthem “Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight,” any screaming from McCartney is going to win him a whole new youth contingent.

Further, Coachella marks the first time Electric Arguments will be performed live, and will follow on the heels of McCartney’s Grammy performance with Foo Fighters’ powerhouse Dave Grohl on Sunday. Throw in a viral appearance on The Colbert Report and you have the makings of a timely resurrection for the Beatle who sang “Helter Skelter” like his life depended on it.


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