72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something New from Paul McCartney
It's been a while since Paul McCartney released an album of new material - Memory Almost Full came out in 2007 and The Fireman's Electric Arguments in 2008. New has been well worth the wait though, as not only is it full of classic McCartney tunes, it also, like most of his output over the last decade or so, shows a willingness both lyrically and sonically to be...
Published 11 months ago by Mr. D. K. Smith
Most Helpful First | Newest First
72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something New from Paul McCartney,
It's been a while since Paul McCartney released an album of new material - Memory Almost Full came out in 2007 and The Fireman's Electric Arguments in 2008. New has been well worth the wait though, as not only is it full of classic McCartney tunes, it also, like most of his output over the last decade or so, shows a willingness both lyrically and sonically to be experimental at times.
The album sees Paul working with four producers, Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns, Paul Epworth and Giles Martin, McCartney's original idea was to trial all four of them and use the one he enjoyed working with most to produce the album. Instead he ended up recording with all four - Martin producing seven tracks, Epworth and Johns three each and Ronson two.
McCartney's touring band of Rusty Anderson, Brian Ray, Abe Laboriel Jr and Paul "Wix" Wickens feature on seven of the album's songs, although this isn't strictly speaking a band album - something McCartney hasn't done since 1993's Off The Ground.
A brief song by song breakdown of the album -
"Save Us" - Produced by Paul Epworth this gets the album off to a cracking start. With Queen-like harmonies it's an upbeat rocker that could easily become a live favourite. Although it sounds like a band performance, actually it only features McCartney and Epworth - McCartney on guitar, bass and vocals with Epworth on drums.
"Alligator" - Produced by Mark Ronson, this features all of McCartney's band and has a strong vocal from Paul. Very Wings-like.
"On My Way To Work" - Produced by Giles Martin, this is another band song. One of several songs that casts an eye back to McCartney's life back in Liverpool as a young man. The notion of McCartney riding buses and clocking into work is somewhat incongruous, but it's a decent track enhanced by the bands performance.
"Queenie Eye" - Produced by Paul Epworth. The tempo rises again with this infectious sing-along track. Another song that would work very well in the live environment, it's a great toe-tapper.
"Early Days" - Produced by Ethan Johns. This is a song that harks back to his Beatles past, with lyrics such as "dressed in black from head to toe, two guitars across our backs". The sparse acoustic opening and McCartney's cracking vocals are quite affecting - one of the less cluttered productions on the album, it sounds as if it could have come from the Flaming Pie album.
"New" - Produced by Mark Ronson. The first song to surface from the album, back in August, it's a catchy slice of upbeat pop that could easily fit into most McCartney albums from the last six decades.
"Appreciate" - Produced by Giles Martin. Coming directly after the uplifting "New" this moody song is a change of pace - featuring distorted McCartney vocals, driving percussion from Abe and some nice guitar work from Brian and Rusty.
"Everybody Out There" - Produced by Giles Martin. Abe, Brian and Rusty are all featured on this one, along with unidentified members of Paul's family - simply referred to as the "McCartney Family Chorus". McCartney has admitted that the call and response part of the song was designed for audience interaction. So while the song feels a little contrived, it's another bouncy piece of feel-good pop that's difficult not to like.
"Hosanna" - Produced by Ethan Johns. An acoustic ballad, which is nice enough but it doesn't really go anywhere. One of the lesser tracks on the album.
"I Can Bet" - Produced by Giles Martin. Things pick up again with this sprightly track, featuring Rusty and Wix. Not the best song on the album, but it's a very entertaining three and a half minutes.
"Looking At Her" - Produced by Giles Martin. A slower song, with distorted vocals from Paul. It really gets into gear when the instrumental break kicks in. A bit of a slow-burner, but this song is definitely a grower.
"Road" - Produced by Paul Epworth. One of the songs that took a few plays to click, but it's a good, low-key, track.
"Turned Out" - Produced by Ethan Johns. A nice up-tempo rocker, this should prove to be a popular song in his live set.
"Get Me Out Of Here" - Produced by Giles Martin. Another track with distorted vocals, and here we also see McCartney doing his best bluesman impression. A pity it was relegated to being a bonus track on the Deluxe Edition, as it could have swapped with On My Way To Work on the Standard Edition.
"Scared" - Produced by Giles Martin. A hidden track, appearing 20 seconds after Get Me Out Of Here has finished. It's a solo McCartney performance that sees him playing piano, Bill Black's bass and vibraphone. A tender ballad that sounds heartfelt, it means that the album ends on a somewhat sombre note, although the song is still positive in its outlook.
With the bonus tracks, New clocks in at around the 52 minute mark. Losing both Hosanna and On My Way To Work would have tightened things up, as more isn't necessarily more - but New is a very strong collection of songs that can comfortably sit alongside the very best of his solo material.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Textured collection,
The first listen of a new McCartney collection of songs serves as an introduction. The second and subsequent listens gradually and finally unfolds the familiar ground of McCartney's melodic genius in both its obvious and subtle forms. New is a typically textured McCartney album - all the genres are there both modern and traditional in style. The melodies are infectious. I've played the album repeatedly to the point that it is not only on my ipod but also uploaded and playing repeatedly in my head especially Alligator and Queenie Eye. Worth the wait.
40 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing really!,
Music is such a personal thing. McCartney whether it be Beatles, Wings or Solo has been part of my life. 70's, 80's, 90's and now 00's - he's there. Every album, without exception always has a few cracking tunes on it. How many cracking tunes is debatable. I often go back to old albums and suddenly find something I wasn't interested in ten years ago rings true to me now. It's remarkable really - he did all the Beatle stuff and still comes back with more - every single album! Those that write him off as being too old, clearly spend too much time reading the Daily Mail - remember we all get old. His voice has aged, but it doesn't in my mind at least, detract from the fact he can still write amazing melodic tunes that always have me going back for more.
This album is no exception. But perhaps it is an exception, because there's more cracking stuff on here than on many of his previous attempts. Twists and turns, lovely bridges and that constant bass - the McCartney bass! Two days after release it's too early to tell whether it'll be a laster (initial impressions tell me it is). I thought Memory Almost Full was great when I first heard it, but I find it too loud and get tired after a few songs. This is different. How can he be 71? Only one song tells you his age and that's clearly done on purpose.
Go listen - and if you're not too busy reading the Daily Mail go listen to it again!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really great album. I bought this not really knowing what ...,
A really great album. I bought this not really knowing what to expect, but now I cant stop listening to it. Definitely a good buy.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cut Him Some Slack!,
Update 30/01/14 - Macca has just won the "Rock Song of the Year 2013" award at the grammy's for "Cut Me Some Slack" which is performed with the ex Nivarna band members. It can be found on the "Sound City - Reel to Reel" album which is a mixture of artists writing songs and performing with the ex Nirvana band (Stevie Nicks is pretty good too!)
Cut Me Some Slack is one of his best "Magical" songs and fits nicely after Appreciate on a remix of this album. Since my first review I also have to admit that "Early Days" is a classic and has now joined the "Magical Tune" section. This is a very good album that warrants repeat plays and if you cheat (like me!) and add the grammy winner it upgrades the album to 4.5 stars and one of his best even if "On My Way To Work" is still frustrating the life out of me as it should also have been a classic!
Original review - This is a pleasant Macca album (Forget paying for the 3 bonus deluxe tracks though) and we should not compare everything to his many finest moments so cut him some slack!
But my Beatle influence theory takes a knock here. After working on the Beatles Anthology the superb Flaming Pie followed. Then many more Beatle tunes found their way into live concerts and the excellent Chaos & Creation, Memory Almost Full and Electric Arguments followed. So what has happened after Good Evening New York City!
The above albums were packed with those unique Beatle "Magical Tunes" and the reason a star is dropped here is simply the missing Magical Tunes. This is best summed up by "On My Way to Work" and "New". The former had the potential of "We Can Work It Out" but loses itself midway through and an annoying guitar blasts in which sounds out of place. "New" though a trademark catchy tune likewise just falls short of finding that extra spark.
The ballads "Early Days" and "Hosanna" have promise but fall just short of the quality of "Somedays", "End of The End", Heaven On A Sunday", or "Jenny Wren". Likewise there is nothing of the quality of "That Was Me", "Young Boy", "Dance Till We're High", "Only Mamma Knows ""Highway" or "Light From Your Lighthouse" etc.
Yet compared to other artists you have to admire the master craftsman at work here and an album that is still going to give much pleasure as he has the skill to make average songs good and dodgy songs into decent fillers. It does sound disjointed with the 4 producers and the album lacks a purpose and feel compared too much of his work. Save Us is a decent opening rocker and there are several catchy "7 out of 10" songs such as Alligator and Queenie Eye as well as the songs mentioned above. Fans will enjoy this but it is not a going to be considered a classic - just very good.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The superior depth of sound on this vinyl version is the only way to experience this classic and enduring album,
This review is from: New [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I started out with the japanese deluxe edition but initially was lukewarm on the whole thing for a few listens to the extent of deleting a few tracks from my playlist and concentrating on the ones that were grabbing me.
But then the running order started to exhibit a certain quality I associate with 'The White Album' and I decided to go with that, starting to notice all the depths of production, structure and harmony. That was probably in the new year following the November release and since then it's really started to take off for me on increasingly frequent replays (a couple of friends are reporting the same thing.)
Now towards a year after release I can say I've probably played this as much as any recent album I've bought, my last heavy rotation item being Dangermouse's 'Rome' album with Nora Jones and Jack White a couple of years back and McCartney's 'New' is getting toward competing with that on repeat plays which is quite something, really as I played 'Rome' several times a days for months!
It's all been heightened by the appearance of the vinyl version at a friend's house and, asking to hear this version, I was knocked out by the sound, the CD having been mastered much more for the modern 'loudness'. The vinyl edition is a different beast and I must have a copy now because added to the general quality of the album, the warm rich sound of this variation really does put this right into bona fide classic album territory.
Whichever version you listen to, it absolutely grows and grows.
I am still having some trouble handling the lyrics of the middle eight on 'Scared' (a bonus track not on all editions) but my current favourite is the japanese bonus track 'Struggle' which features McCartney screaming like a madman preacher in the background. Starting out as a bit knowingly avant-garde, this track now seems to me pretty 'catchy' as well. (That of course is the McCartney trademark even with 'growers')
But a track like 'Early Days' deserves more more exposure so it's nice to see it doing the rounds as a single and video currently as it's quite a watershed track where McCartney seems now to be 'getting into' and getting comfortable with his changed/aged voice in a way that's making it a 'new' instrument rather than something to fight with or be in denial on. Elsewhere, on 'Looking At Her' he's dealing with it in another way, vocally, and against some truly bizarre and brilliant chording and harmonies (that reminds me of Dylan's initial bewilderment with The Beatles' 'simply outrageous chords'), it's another track that's coming from the back on my repeat plays.
I believe this is coming out again in an expanded collectors edition with all the bonus tracks and videos.
That's a good idea because this really is going to be the one to beat for McCartney in the future.
I've no doubt that he'll consolidate this album's momentum but probably in a surprising form.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McCartney & the Young Bloods,
Since, probably the early nineties, McCartney has (Unfairly) been dismissed by a lot of music critics as a recording artist with nothing more offer, this seems to have taken a great weight of expectancy off McCartney's shoulders, resulting in an outstanding run of studio albums (Flaming Pie, Driving Rain, Chaos & Creation, Memory almost full & Electric Arguments).
This winning streak continues (mostly) with "New".
The big talking point with this new record is the four producers, but oddly if you weren't told of this fact, I don't think you would have guessed, with not a massive amount of diversity in the production of the tracks. There could have been a bit more experimentation; "Appreciate" really the only example of McCartney's left-field attitude to music (most Paul McCartney fans I'm sure are also quite broadminded in their musical tastes & would not have minded a few more challenging songs).
Plus when an artist records with a single producer on a project, they usually build up a strong relationship, with each party bringing something important to the table.
As for the songs themselves, they're mostly quite complex, with lots of over-dubs (I think each producer was trying to stamp their individual mark on the record). On one hand this means that repeated listens to the album unlocks sounds & bit of music you miss on previous listens, but on the other hand it could be deemed over-egging the pudding just a little. It's just a shame there aren't any simple, stripped down tracks which McCartney does so well, to give the record a bit more diversity.
As for the extra tracks, "Turned Out" is a great retro rocker in a similar vain to "Save Us", "Get me out of Here" has a nice bluesy Led Zeppelin feel to it, the hidden track ""How much you mean to me" is your bog standard piano ballad that McCartney can write in his sleep, still worth paying the extra for though.
There is always a unfair hope that McCartney's next album is going to be as good as Sgt Pepper, which I know is ridiculous, but there's always a small part of your brain that always thinks so.
So a good, if not outstanding album, I don't think it's a strong as "Chaos & Creation" & "Memory almost Full", but his done a lot worse in his career.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How many songs now composed,
This review is from: NEW [+digital booklet] (MP3 Download)
Paul, nay Sir Paul has a very long and productive life as both artist and composer. although many will find some of his works as the best thing since sliced bread, at the same time other works can be a little trite and insubstantial.
on the whole this album fills the brief of good rock based music. although a little light and not his best album still worth a listen to
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul almost back to his best! Best album he's done for a long time,
Paul almost back to his best! Best album he's done for a long time.
Most Helpful First | Newest First