“The most successful songwriter” – according to Guinness -, the ex-Beatles member seems to came back to life lately. After last year’s “Kisses on the Bottom” – consisting primarily of covers -, Sir James Paul McCartney is back with a brand new album entitled simply “New”. It is his sixteenth studio album, but his first since 2007’s “Memory Almost Full” to consist entirely of new compositions. And surprisingly – or not really – McCartney sound fresh while he’s bringing to the surface more Beatles resonances then ever before.
McCartney intended to work with one of his favorite producers, chose one of them, but ended up recording with all four: Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns, Paul Epworth and Giles Martin, although Martin produced the majority of the tracks and he was also the executive producer of the album. Recording took place at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles; Avatar Studios in New York; Abbey Road Studios, Air Studios and Wolf Tone Studios in London; and The Mill in East Sussex. The album sound colorful, but still have character, integrity, it’s a vivid puzzle, but at the bottom line all the pieces are fit together.
McCartney has said that the album would be “very varied. I worked with four producers and each of them brought something different”. The songs produced by Paul Epworth “weren’t written” but improvised. The title track, “New”, is a “love song but it’s saying don’t look at me I haven’t got any answers. It says I don’t know what’s happening, I don’t know how it’s all happening, but it’s good and I love you.”
Other tracks are biographical: “On My Way to Work” was written about his pre-fame past alluding to his time working as a driver’s mate for Speedy Prompt Delivery in Liverpool. Similarly on the day McCartney composed “Early Days”, he had been reminiscing about his past in Liverpool with John Lennon: “I started to get images of us in the record shop listening to early rock and roll and looking at the posters and the joy that that gave me remembering all those moments.”
Regarding contemporary inspirations, McCartney expressed that the album had been influenced by his marriage to Shevell: “This is a happy period in my life, having a new woman — so you get new songs when you get a new woman.” He felt that New is generally joyful, but with an undercurrent of “pain getting changed to laughter”. Ronson referred to the song “Alligator” in particular as being “brooding” and “quite tough”. McCartney wrote “Everybody Out There” specifically to “get the audience singing along” and that he was particularly proud of “Early Days” and the hidden track “Scared”.
01 – Save Us
02 – Alligator
03 – On My Way To Work
04 – Queenie Eye
05 – Early Days
06 – New
07 – Appreciate
08 – Everybody Out There
09 – Hosanna
10 – I Can Bet
11 – Looking At Her
12 – Road (includes “Scared” as a hidden track)
Deluxe edition bonus tracks:
13 – Turned Out
14 – Get Me Out Of Here (includes “Scared” as a hidden track)
My personal favorites are “Appreciate”, “Looking At Her” and “New”, but the whole album it’s really enjoyable.
“Save Us” kicks in directly, without no warning, it’s a strong rock track, kind of reminded me of Wings, although the sound it’s more powerful, modern. The American band Kiss had this type of sound on their 1979 “Dynasty” album.
“Alligator” it’s a little bit darker, more tensioned, but build upon some typical Beatles/McCartney themes and melodies. I love how smoothly switch from heavy intensity to sentimentally soft breaks.
“On My Way To Work” it’s another Beatles flavored track, very sticky and singable, fueled by memories and melancholy. It’s really nice.
“Queenie Eye” it’s also feels very Beatlesish, but in a different way. It’s a nice mixture of experimental flavors and simplicity.
“Early Days” it’s a nice acoustic song, McCartney voice is incredibly smooth and fresh after all these years!
“New” it’s almost feels like a missing frame from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. It’s made of the same ingredients and bring to life by the same inspiration.
“Appreciate” it’s one of the best McCartney tracks ever. It was produced by Giles Martin and it’s the perfect melange of the Beatles spirit with some bombastic modern sounds and noises. Once you’re listen this, you can get out of your head, “appreciate, appreciate…” will ringing in your ears for days. It’s kind of magic and incredibly intense.
“Everybody Out There” grows slowly, but till the end becomes a real arena rock anthem. Clever and driven, growing strong beat by beat.
“Hosanna” have that charming, mysterious aroma as “Norwegian Wood” had with a twist of “Strawberry Fields”.
“I Can Bet” bring us back to the Wings type of sound and spirit, it’s a solid pop-rock track with several smart twists and tricks throughout.
“Looking At Her” it’s so simple, so good that it’s divine. The modern inserts of grooves and noisy synths are insane! Hard not to love it.
“Road” have a kind of darker vibe, pumping slowly and mysterious, it’s a minimalist construction with a powerful bass groove and heavy spirit.
“Tuned Out” it’s a typical pop flavored McCartney song, pretty sticky as most of his compositions.
“Get Me Out Of Here” it’s suitable for any late Beatles album, could had been placed to “Let It Be” easily, really feels like a left over of that era. The powerful drums and the gospel type of chorus make it quite addictive.
“Scared”, the hidden bonus track it’s a melancholic, pretty dark actually love song build upon a simple piano line.
Buy it or steal it!!
Paul McCartney – Official Site