Paul McCartney’s appearance at the end of Kanye’s “All Day” is purposefully jarring. The majority of the track is forceful, pulsing with uncontainable energy that manifests itself mostly through rhythm rather than melody. McCartney’s contribution is the exact opposite—he’s working in peak-soft-rock mode. For a brief moment, everything is breezy, carefree, and unabashedly pretty, before Theophilus London arrives and buries the whole track with an aggressive avalanche of sound.
It turns out that McCartney’s part of “All Day” has been floating around in the back of his mind for years. In 2006, a Youtube user posted an old interview with the ex-Beatle during which he plays and whistles the same melody that appears in Kanye’s single; this was reposted on Reddit yesterday. According to the interview, McCartney was inspired to write the tune by a Picasso print in the hospital where his second child was born. Picasso’s work depicted a man playing his guitar was just two fingers. As an exercise in song-writing under artificial constraints, McCartney challenged himself to do the same.
Thumbnail Image: Ken Ishii / Getty Images