Maybe you have heard by now that the new Paul McCartney album is, actually, weirdly, mostly good. Or, at least, not entirely terrible. It's actually not a Macca album, per se; it's the latest in his collaborations with producer and former Killing Joke bassist Martin Glover, who goes by the name Youth. The duo is called the Fireman, and their previous records were electronica experiments.

Hey, where are you going? Have I lost you already? Wow, this is a tough sell.

Anyway, the new Fireman album is called Electric Arguments, and it's the best thing I've heard from McCartney since Band on the Run. (Although I admit to being deeply affected by "Calico Skies" from the otherwise crappy Flaming Pie record, especially after Linda died.) I think the precise reason Electric Arguments is not the wobbly treacle-tart of competent but rote songwriting that we've come to expect from the former Beatle is that the nature of this project frees Paul McCartney up completely: He isn't being Paul McCartney. He's just being a freaky, creative musician who's ignoring his limitations, whether they be studio costs, or his public persona, or band politics, or any pandering to what he might think his record company wants. It approaches the courageousness and creativity of the Beatles' most fecund period.

Imagine these tunes were created by a coupla local hipsters with a laptop in their rented basement. Maybe I'm getting all carried away with holiday spirit, but these are actually good.

Tell me he's not pissing out some anger towards Heather Mills with this one:

The Fireman - "Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight"

And this one just sounds nice:

The Fireman - "Sing the Changes"