60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2013
Paul McCartney's latest offering "New" offers energetic, melodic, sturdy, inspired songs that are edgy and have a distinctly modern sound. It's been noted everywhere that Mr. McCartney has used the services of four different producers here, with Giles Martin putting it all together in a very cohesive package.
Paul works in two modes here, most of the songs he uses his cracker jack touring band and the three songs with Paul Epworth, it's just Mr. Epworth on Drums and Macca on everything else. These compositions contain lots of psychedelic flourishes with fat guitar in a very wide range of styles, there's virtually no one out there offering this kind of varied mature writing that is deceptively complex in its scope and execution.
Paul is all over the map with this one and it makes for quite a ride from beginning to end. "Save Us" opens the proceedings with a spiky punk rocker with a terrific vocal. "Alligator" is an acoustic driven shuffle that is fast paced and edgy with great fuzz tone guitar hooks and a really cool, spacey section that comes out of nowhere. "On My Way To Work" offers solid lyrics where the protagonist describes his daily commute and his girlie magazine reference is priceless, the musical highlight being the heavy oriental sounding passage with substancial guitar. The song "Early Days" is a narrative about his teenage days with John Lennon looking for both inspiration and an audience for their songs, moving and memorable, with a swipe at critics and biographers who weren't there, potent stuff. "I Can Bet" is sort of a modern Wings song that propels along with cheeky vocals, a refrain to die for and a completely unexpected moog synth solo. "Appreciate" is an unusual track that is based on one chord swinging between major and minor with a very modern beat and various psychedelic sounds that builds to great atmospheric guitar at the end.
This album is rich with superb songs, brimming with musical ideas that span across the spectrum; songs like "Everybody Out There" with its tasty acoustic guitar riff and "Queenie Eye" with the infectious chorus and mixture of retro and cutting-edge sounds. The extra songs are essential, the catchy fast paced "Turned Out" continues the melodic innovative sounds and the great bluesy "Get Me Out Of Here" that would be a perfect acoustic fit for Eric Clapton, you gotta love that self-effacing humor when Paul sings out, "I'm a Celebrity". Indeed.
Mr. McCartney biggest gift is his ability to compose melodic, inventive, varied music. What he does here on "New" is marry that gift to contemporary sounds and technology in a thrilling 54 minutes.
Additional Comments 11/14/14: Just bought the "NEW" Collector's Edition Hard Cover Book Version. The 3 extra songs: "Demon's Dance", "Hell To Pay" and "Struggle" are stellar editions to an already Stellar Album. The First two songs are piano based rockers and "Struggle" is an interesting Avante Guarde piece. The live tunes included are reproduced very well in his live act. The DVD isn't indispensible but the 3 additioanl tunes certainly are. A great CD just got better.
169 of 185 people found the following review helpful
For me it is hard to review McCartney albums, I was ten years old with John Lennon was killed and it was the first I'd heard the Beatles and really the first time I was excited by music. My parents had all of the albums so I pretty much listened to the Beatles non-stop from the ages of 10-13. Each and every song imprinted on me and solidly putting McCartney and Lennon as the greatest songwriters in the world in my mind.
I have followed Paul throughout the years and I have to admit there are hits and misses in his catalog, mainly because he is not afraid to take chances and push his music into new territories. I loved his last album of standards "Kisses on the Bottom" but was also ready for a new album of McCartney songs.
Here on "New" McCartney does not disappoint. There are some flashes and homages to previous work but there are also strides into new territory. McCartney worked with four young producers on this album and that may be one of the reasons that things do seem fresh on most of the tracks.
"SAVE US" - The album kicks off with a bang with "Save Us" a song that rocks pretty damn hard with distorted guitars and heavy drum beat. Not bad for a guy now over 70 years old! The track features McCartney doing everything himself except playing the drums and he is in fine form vocally and on the guitar and bass.
"ALLIGATOR" - You can't tell it from the name, but this mid-tempo song is about wanting a companion to be there for all facets of life, someone to share everything with. There's no doubt Paul's new wife is having an effect on his songs and in a good way. Some very cool guitar work here and a bit of a psychadelic synthesizer make this one memorable.
"ON MY WAY TO WORK" - A ballad that is vintage McCartney telling a story about a guy longing for the girl of his dreams. Nice acoustic guitar and Paul's voice is showcased nicely here. Some heavier guitar in the instrumental break moves the song along.
"QUEENIE EYE" - A "life's a game song" written about a game Paul used to play as a kid. From an interview: "Now this song, 'Queenie Eye,' is based on a game we used to play when I was a kid. You got to remember that's a long time ago and basically in kind of a poor area I was from. What you did you entertain yourself was go out in the street and play street games. There wasn't that much traffic, so you were pretty safe. And one of the games was called 'Queenie Eye.'" Repetetition and lyrical rhyming will have to getting this song stuck in your head for days.
"EARLY DAYS" - One of my favorite tracks on the album. As the title would lead you to believe this is a song about Paul's early days in music, viewing it all as a grand adventure that nobody can ever take away from him. His vocals very up front over an acoustic guitar make you feel like you're just sitting in a room and listening to Sir Paul on the guitar. Somewhere John Lennon is smiling.
"NEW" - The first single from the record that announced to us all that Paul was ready to get back to rocking after the last album of standards that he recorded. "New" is a happy, bouncy song that does not seem to get old no matter how many times you've heard it. It is a song that stands up there with some of Paul's best pop songs. Here we are so many years and albums into an amazing career and Paul is still doing what he can to keep things "new" and succeeding pretty well indeed! There's a great little vocal play at the end that reminds me of Bobby McFerrin's work.
"APPRECIATE" - This song starts with a dark, but killer groove that just broods through the song. McCartney's vocals are distorted a bit and run through a flanger at times giving the vocals a cool vibe as he tells us to "appreciate the day." Great guitar work and some powerful percussion make this a song that can, pun intented, be very much appreciated.
"EVERYBODY OUT THERE" - This one is probably included just to be able to play it live. A fun song with some call and response lyrics that will surely be a hit with concert audiences. This one features an 11-piece string section and what is billed as the "McCartney Family Chorus." The song also carries a great message from Paul for us to "do some good before you say good-bye."
"HOSANNA" - An acoustic ballad that features the lyrics "I want to hold you in my arms, I want to take you to my heart again." Not a bad song, but one that seems to be missing a little something. There are some "Tomorrow Never Knows" type guitars at the end, but they don't really save the song.
"I CAN BET" - This one is a rocker! It is an "I'm going to get the girl" track with a bit of sass from Sir Paul who says that after looking her straight in the eye and pulling her closely "what I'm going to do next I'll leave entirely to your imagination." Paul has more game at his age than most rockers half his age, deal with it!
"LOOKING AT HER" - A sweet love song with a bit of an edge. Pure genius how the vibe of the vocals and music changes when the topic moves from Paul describing the woman and then when Paul describes what she does to him. "I'm losing my mind" Paul repeats as the guitars get distored and the music stops. Truly excellent songwriting.
"ROAD" - A song that could be about a romantic relationship but could also be a song about his old pal John Lennon with lyrics like "We came from nowhere" and "Two crazy partners" who are looking for a spark. An interesting piece that slows down and speeds up and ends on a high note.
"TURNED OUT" - This is way too good of a song to be a bonus track. The song is classic McCartney with ringing guitars and catchy lyrics. "I took a chance and what good thing, it turned out to be," Paul sings about finding love. I think everyone has turned down a chance or two along the way and Paul's advice here is clear, take a chance!
"GET ME OUT OF HERE" - A bluesy track that is also way too good to be just on the "deluxe" versions of the album. Paul singing with an acoustic guitar and drum beat that really does feel like an old-time blues song. "I'm a celebrity, someone get me out of here," Paul sings with tongue firmly in cheek. This one makes me with McCartney and Clapton would sit down and just jam out some acoustic blues numbers.
"SCARED" - This one is another bonus track, but truly one of the best the album has to offer. It's one of the most stark, emotional songs on the album about trying to express deep feeling to someone. "The beautiful birds won't fly out of their cage though I'm trying to set them free," Paul sings over a piano background.
The perfect way to end the US version of the record, and I am sure McCartney's fans will have no problem letting Sir Paul know just how they feel about him.
"STRUGGLE" - Only available on the Japanese editions of "New." "Struggle" is the most electronic sounding of anything on "New," it sounds more like something that would have been more at home on one of McCartney's "Fireman" albums. Lots of echo around the vocals here as Paul talks about "life's eternal stuggles" and the song ends in just a mishmash of noises. Experimental, but still kind of cool.
There is no doubt in my mind that McCartney can still write a hit song and this album proves it.
How does it stack up against the Beatles' catalog and McCartney's past works? That is up for you to decide, but I think it is a very good record that I will be playing for a long time. There are already some songs that have grown on me more with just two or three listens, to me that is certainly a good sign that this album is something special.
The bottom line here is "New" is highly recommended.
72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2013
First listen impressions:
Save Us - Sounds like late era Wings/early solo (1980s) Macca. The harmonies sound like Wings and the song structure is solid.
Alligator - Starts off with a hint of Lonely Road without the darkness, and If You Wanna, from Flaming Pie. I like this one.
On My Way To Work - A simple track where Paul paints a picture of a day in the life (so to speak). My favorite line, "How can I have so many dreams and one of them not come true?"
Queenie Eye - The piano has a Hello Goodbye vibe to it. I like that he varies his arrangement and it's not a one-level drone pounding away for 3 minutes.
Early Days - His voice is a bit weaker or vulnerable on this one which is very personal it seems talking about starting out a busker looking for gigs. I like how it starts as a narrative story then turns to a reflection of his experience since that time and where he is now with his legacy of The Beatles. pretty cool track! This song is going to leave a mark. His answer to biographers and opinion writers who think John was the band or Paul was just the fluff. Hell, he wrote more hits than ANY Beatle, as part of the band OR as a solo artist.
New - Great track! Bouncy Beatles tunes never tire me out. I love that the title track and first single hits smack in the middle giving you something familiar already to listen to. The harmonies are terrific and tight. Hand claps have returned to pop music! Yes! Another Ringo style drum roll at the end of the track before the harmonies come back is brilliant.
Appreciate - I'll lump this in with Memory Almost Full's "Gratitude" as part of an opus of attitude songs. Next album we will get to hear Thankfulness. lol Seriously though, this song has another great drum track behind it and a simple message delivered perfectly without preaching. Paul has always been the more upbeat and positive of the Beatles songwriters and this song is all about staying positive.
Everybody Out There - Sounds like something off London Town (Backwards Traveller) or Tug Of War with a touch of Back to the Egg. An easy acoustic driven track.
Hosanna - This may be the first track (one minute in) that's less than very good. It doesn't really go anywhere.
I Can Bet - Back on track, this song comes out of the box with a good beat and a purpose. Great sound to this one.
Looking At Her - Very nice! A bit different for Paul but in an understated way. Nice to hear something subtle yet interesting.
Road - He must have been listening to RAM recently. This subject matter recalls Back Seat of My Car yet in no way sounds like it, with the possible exception of the piano driving the track. More hand claps! YES! You just don't hear hand claps on songs anymore. The Beatles did it a lot in the early days. More than likely it's inspired by all the touring he has done in recent years. A nice finish to the album.
(BONUS TRACK SECTION)
Turned Out - This song could have fit into a Traveling Wilbury's album. I love the way he changes up his tempos all across this album. No song seems to go in one direction without altering somewhere in the middle. The best song of the Beatles had some of the biggest tempo changes mid-song.
Get Me Out Of Here - Sounds like a demo to start which is a nice choice for texture. Apparently he is stuck in a box - hence, Get Me Out Of Here! lol The bass drum used as the pounding fist on the box trying to escape. A fun song! I guess it's him being trapped in certain situations he doesn't always enjoy. Pretty funny.
Scared - Beautiful song. Although it seems it's a bonus track it's also on the regular version to my understanding as a hidden track. It has a bit of Driving Rain sadness to it but in this case what was "sadness" in Driving Rain is being used as trepidation and angst as he is unsure of her feelings for him. Not a great melody or anything special that way but it is a glimpse into Paul's heart for Nancy and that is refreshing to hear as he usually hides his feelings from everyone. This song talks specifically about that topic of hiding his feelings from the one he loves.
Overall impression - Paul's voice hasn't sounded this strong in ages. His songs are both interesting and fun. The instrumentation is complex and yet familiar for Paul's songs. There are layers of textures to this album which plays so easily you get lost in the moments. The songs seem to fly by without wanting to press the advance button - something I had to do with Driving Rain & Chaos & Creation too much. He probably wasn't in a good place at those times, so I'll forgive him, but he apparently has found love again and inspiration with Nancy. Back to the album.
This lyrics are easy to follow and make sense from the start. He's not writing secret messages these days which is refreshing. I love the little things like the Ringo-esque drum fills on Queenie Eye along with O-U-T Spells OUT! from the Xmas messages, which were probably inspired by the childhood game he is referencing here. It's come full circle.
Listening just once to each song (except the single which has been out a couple weeks) I enjoyed every track with the exception of Hosanna which just doesn't go anywhere. But I'll have to listen a few more times to know for sure. Sometimes the best songs grow on you. The album has already grown on me. It's in instant rotation for me.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
I received the delux copy of Paul McCartneys latest album not knowing what to expect,I read most of the reviews carefully especially the negative ones before my purchase as I allways do with most albums I buy.
To start with to all those people who forever are saying and writing things like his voice is gone, his voice is not the same anymore, he can't write good songs like he use too etc etc etc. To all those people I say get a life! the man is 71 years old of course his voice won't sound the same but it stops there. The man is a genius and this album in my humble opinion is the best solo album he has ever recorded and I don't say that lightly.
After the first listen I sat there stunned not believing my ears, is this Paul McCartney? yes it was it was Paul at 71 years of age playing and singing with a maturity of a troubadour that has travelled all types of roads and continues to write and play music which gives pleasure to millions of people.
I truly hope he never stops writing and performing over time he has evolved as the most gifted singer/songwriter of all time, God bless you Paul.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
I remember watching The Beatles arrival at JFK. OK - now you know how long I've been following McCartney. Through his LSD comments, his post-Lennon-assassination "It's a drag" comment, the triumph of "McCartney", followed by the debacle of Wings Wild Life, the resurrections of RAM, Band On The Run, and the nadirs of McCartney II, Off The Ground - numerous concerts, sharing the sadness of Linda's loss, the cruelty of the psychotic Heather, and a thrilling moment of seeing him, looking oh so happy, with Nancy at the concession stand of a NYC movie theater several years ago. on through the triumphs of C&CITB, Memory Almost Full, and Electric Arguments. It is through this lens that I listened to III---III, or as it's known, "NEW". (Excuse the "lens" "listened" mixed metaphor)
I'm coming a little late to this review party. I had to give this disc some time. I heard the song New and absolutely l-o-v-e-d it. Watched all the McCartney TV appearances, the Kimmel concert, et al. Found myself humming the song throughout my day, and thinking "this is as good, and catchy as anything he wrote for The Beatles". I expected more of the same. That was my mistake. And when the album was released, I found myself initially disappointed.
But this is great stuff. I recently had it playing in the background of my classroom, while the high school students were working on projects, and my post-hippy-musically-knowledgable student looked up and said: "This is good - every song sounds different". And I realized he was right. This is as good an eclectic mix of songs as any McCartney has ever released. I won't go through a song-by-song review (the lead reviewer does a good job of that) but I will say that Queenie Eye is amazing (and solves a nearly 50 year (!) mystery of John Lennon's "O-U-T spells OUT" on The Beatles 1964 Christmas fan disc "Christmas Time Is Here Again")
This album has really, really grown on me. Give it a shot. "Appreciate" incorporates McCartney's Fireman pushing-the-envelope production, "Save Us" is a Wings/Memory Almost Full power-pop amalgam. "Scared" allows McCartney to bare his soul in the first person - no hidden "characters" as ever before. "Old Days' re-captures the nostalgiac looking-back "The Song We Were Singing" on Flaming Pie. But this time, McCartney's voice is allowed to show it's aging frailty, adding delicacy and fragility rather than simple nostalgia. "On My Way To Work" incorporates the guitar strumming of "Follow Me" from C&CITB, and a fictional day in the life of, ala, Look At The Average Person from Pipes Of Peace with an amusingly rhythmic lyric about looking at a naked pic in a magazine (naughty, cheeky boy!)
Boyish? In the best sense. "NEW", created by McCartney at 71 years of youth gives me hope for my next decade as well. This music is so youthful, and some of it so vital, it makes me excited to hear what McCartney will be creating during the next decade.
I've given it some time. I've listened to it over and over again. Do I like "New"? Yeah, yeah, yeah.
UPDATE: We were listening to a lot of McCartney this weekend, and my wife remarked, that yea, the album is good, but not "as good as" Flaming Pie, or Flowers In The Dirt. I pointed out that those albums were met with lukewarm reviews when they came out, but are now considered "McCartney classics". I wouldn't expect McCartney to be doing the same riffs after 15-25 years, and I really think that NEW will age just as well, and show that Paul McCartney continued to grow as an artist. He'll never be as current as, say, Macklemore, but I see that as being a good thing. I'm gettin' older too. As the man sings in Alligator: "I want someone to come home to / I need somewhere I can sleep / I need a place where I can rest my weary bones / and have a conversation not too deep. It will be a sad day indeed when Paul McCartney no longer provides us with catchy, bouncy, upbeat, joyous, silly love songs.
Godspeed Sir Paul McCartney!
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2013
"New" is a solid release from Paul. If you're a fan, pick it up. Some Paul is better than no Paul.
As an admirer of most of his work, I am a little dismayed that an artist who once was able to write, produce, and play virtually every instrument on his early solo work, has to hire the likes of Epworth and Ronson to produce his stuff these days. I get that he is trying to stay "relevant" and these young producers certainly delivered a contemporary-sounding record for him, but the combination of his aging voice (and the choices he makes vocally to sing in his higher register at age 70+), plus the production choices and relative weakness of the songs makes for a mediocre listen unfortunately. Whatever strength the individual songs may have gets lost in the synthetic drum samples, buzzing, and echoes.
I wish he would have gone in another direction, perhaps producing himself and collaborating with another songwriter with strong pop-chops (Elvis Costello? Jeff Lynne?), or seeking out a more seasoned producer collaborator. We need a bare-boned no frills Paul McCartney record --one where he sings in a comfortable lower vocal range, and where the songs are showcased, not the production. Anyway, my .02 cents.
Standouts on "New" for me were the tracks "New," "On My Way To Work," "Queenie Eye," and "Get Me Out Of Here." I am glad he is still recording and hope he doesn't wait as long for his next album of original material.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
I love this new album from Paul McCartney. My favorite song is the title track "New". It puts me a great mood. This song motivates me to explore different options in life. This tune gives me a sense of confidence that I can succeed in these new endeavors. My other favorite song is entitled "On My Way To Work". I relate to this song because I ride the bus to work every day. I often have a magazine to read. I often feel bothered by smokers just like Paul sings in the song. "Alligator" is a song about longing for companionship. I can relate to the lyrics about trying to find that special person. I think that alligator is a cute song title. "Early Days" is a song about Paul's early days as a musician just struggling to get his music heard. This is another song that reminds me that my dreams can come true if I work hard. "Everybody Out There" is an up tempo song that implores me to try to make a difference in the world. Some of these songs I love just for the beat and the energy it provides me. "Turned Out" is a song that reminds me that I can do things to recharge and center my life when things gets chaotic. "I Can Bet" is a song with a great beat. This song is about the trust and unpredictable nature of relationships. "Hosanna" is a sweet love song". "Appreciate" is a good love song about expressing love for a special someone. The lyrics are harder to make out because of the musical arrangement, but I enjoy the song any way."Save Us", "Queenie Eye" and "The Road" are three groovy rock songs. I could enjoy the rhythm and tone of these three songs without trying to analyze the words. "New" is a truly entertaining new album from Paul McCartney.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2013
Sir Paul has done it again. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much. I haven't bought one of his CDs since Driving Rain, and the Back In The USA follow-up tour. While I enjoyed Driving Rain, and loved the tour (along with the CD and DVD), I kind of lost interest. Watching Paul sing at the Queen's Jubilee in London last year, I was saddened to hear him struggle to hit the notes on Beatles' classics. "Poor old Paul," I thought to myself, "guess he'd better hang it up." When I heard that he was putting out a new album, I kind of shrugged it off. I did listen to "New" on Youtube, but wasn't blown away. Then I read the reviews on Amazon. They were all very positive. I decided to take a chance. I'm thrilled to say they were right. Paul is in great voice, and the album rocks!! I absolutely love it. He has something to say, and he still moves. Yes, he'll have you shaking your ass off, too. So, I urge you to forget whatever you thought you knew, and buy this one. It's well worth it.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2013
Paul has been on a creative late-career peak and this new album keeps that track record going. Both Chaos and Creation (2005), and Electric Arguments (2008) were excellent; Memory Almost Full (2007), not so much. So I wasn't sure what we were going to get with this New album. And in a strange way I think New offers an excellent mix of the best of all three albums. There are gorgeous acoustic pieces like Early Days and On My Way to Work. There are fantastic experimental tracks like Alligator and Appreciate and Road. And there are more conventional pop songs like the title track New and Queenie Eye. Really there is not a bad track on this album, and no cringe-y moments like that Gratitude song on Memory Almost Full. Paul's lyrics are a mixed bag here -- as usual. But there are some really sharp lines ("I need a sweet communicator I can give my alligator to" is excellent!) My least favorite track is probably Everybody Out There, which is hobbled by some lazy lyrics (nothing embarrassing, just bland). The big surprise was how great the two bonus tracks are: Turned out and Get Me Out of Here. I especially love Get Me Out of Here. Paul has always loved doing country/folk type songs and that one sounds like an old country song that's been around for ever, and he sings it with such amusement.
It's the diversity of the tracks that make the album so strong. Paul keeps changing directions, track after track. And it's the energy that the album captures -- modern sounding but not TOO modern sounding -- that makes this a pleasure to listen to from start to finish.
One word of warning: This is Paul singing with his 71-year-old voice. It's not his 1967 voice or his 1977 voice or even his 1997 voice. Whether you like his "old-man" voice is a matter of personal preference. I enjoy hearing what he can do with his voice as it is now. I have no illusions that he sings like he did at 30. But if you're one of those people who can't stand the thought of Paul getting old, and sounding anything but like he did with the Beatles, this album ain't for you. However, if you're interested in hearing what a genius can offer at 71, just when you thought all his tricks had been revealed, you're going to be pleasantly surprised.
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
I was nervous at first.
When "seasoned" performers come out with new material I'm not typically a fan - lets face it, the music that got us into them was saturated with the emotions and struggles of youth whether it be love, friendship or financial strife. When artists become famous and successful, they lose that turbulent river of emotion; the songs, although performed flawlessly, sound forced. The most recent example that comes to mind was "Long Road out of Eden" by the Eagles - horrible album, and I love the Eagles.
This album does not disappoint! every track is great, from start to finish, I can just listen to it all the way through. It's not the Beatles, it's not Wings, it's Paul - good writing, good music, and good production. It sounds like honest new material, not just some songs he stored away for a rainy day.
Wish I could give it six stars.