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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.
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on 15 October 2013
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!
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on 17 October 2013
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.
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on 5 July 2014
I am currently listening to most of the Beatles stuff on mono vinyl.
I find some of the album hard work but Mr mcC talent shines through and it's worth a listen I like the idea of multiple producers but it leads to mixed styles and some people may not appreciate this.
The best album from him in years and a brave step for someone who financially does not need do put out a record.
But I am pleased that he has.
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on 17 November 2013
Working with four different producers seems to have inspired McCartney to make a quality album. He has drawn inspiration from different parts of his life including a seemingly endless supply of memories from his early Beatle days with "On My Way To Work" and "Early Days". "Queenie Eye", the title of which relates back to school days, could be interpreted as a warning to others about experiences later in life with reference to "...hunt for fame" and "careful what you touch in case you burn". Other tracks have a touch of Beatle quality; "New" gets better each time you hear it and "Get Me Out Of Here" would not have been out of place on The White Album. He seems to have made good song choices, showing empathy with what his fans really want to hear. Maybe something to do with being happy with life and surrounded by people who know what we want to hear. I would reccommend the deluxe edition as the 2 extra songs are by no means an add on - good quality songs in their own right, although I agree with other reviewers that we should not be forced into making the choice!
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on 12 November 2013
Sir Paul continues the string of fabulous late career releases with this fabulous, funky and fresh collection of new material. Over the past decade Paul has produced some of his very best solo material, from 'Chaos And Creation In The Backyard' through 'Memory Almost Full' and the sadly neglected Fireman project 'Electric Arguments' and even (of course) the utterly beautiful 'My Valentine' from 'Kisses On The Bottom'. 'New' is a varied and distinguished work, thanks to the range of producers involved, with some stunning examples of Macca's melodic prowess, from the catchy singles 'New' and 'Queenie Eye' through to 'I Can Bet' , as well as demonstrating his inclination to keep up to date with the solid 'Appreciate'. Who would ever have imagined that the man who has spread his genius over five decades now would still be making music as relevant, skillful and top notch McCartneyesque as this into his 70s? An absolute triumph.
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on 5 December 2013
OK, so I am a biased all things Beatles fan, and I have all of his albums (apart from the last covers one), but I approached this album with trepidation. The last few albums have not been particular favourites, so I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is a cracker! From the very first few notes of the first song right through to the end, this album is excellent. Catchy songs which are still going round in my head weeks after the first listen. There are some intensely personal songs on here, from the early days of The Beatles through to his feelings for his new wife. A range of musical styles are used, with some of the tracks echoing early Beatles, others mid/late Beatles, some sound like Wings, and all refreshingly up-to-date and distinctly Macca! My favourite McCartney album since Band On The Run - recommended.
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on 21 December 2013
Pau McCartney has since 'Flaming Pie' produced a series of interesting, if not to everyone's taste, solo albums of which this is the latest and perhaps the most accessible since 'Flaming Pie'. It contains some of his most succinct pop songs in years starting with a wonderful rock track 'Save Us' and leading to tracks that cover his past and present, it is less ruminative than 'Memory Almost Full'. Working with his touring band gives the album a camaraderie that an albums made with session musicians sometimes lack, also I am generally not a fan of multi producer albums which tend to be a bit inconsistent, but the producers on this including Ethan Johns, Mark Ronson and Giles Martin seem to gel. So what you have with this is a really good McCartney solo album his best since...well you pick your favourite.
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on 30 December 2013
One of my Christmas gifts and I enjoyed this album despite not being "a fan" of Paul McCartney. There are a couple of hints of the Beatles rhythms in the album but mostly it is a new direction for McCartney and it is a good addition to my music collection.

The bonus tracks are well worth having and throughout the album the lyrics are brilliant, very well thought out and constructed. The music needs time, for me the excellent lyrics meant the melodies were very much background (therefore only 4 stars) but I expect after 3 or 4 plays the melodies will grow into their own.

The album is NEW and well worth adding to your collection.
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on 17 October 2013
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.
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