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72 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something New from Paul McCartney, 14 Oct 2013
This review is from: New (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-10 of 46 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Oct 2013 09:24:33 BDT
what about the other bonus track listed by amazon secret life of a party girl another hidden track ? or an error ?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 09:33:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2013 09:36:02 BDT
It wasn't on mine - although I had a pre-release promo copy. I think this an error on Amazon's part - as the two bonus tracks on the Deluxe edition are Turned Out and Get Me Out of Here with Scared added onto the end of Get Me Out of Here. While they list Scared and Secret Life of a Party Girl as the two bonus tracks.

Secret Life of a Party Girl was part of the sessions but dropped from the final album AFAIK.

Posted on 14 Oct 2013 09:46:34 BDT
Mr. D. Bain says:
Thanks for what I think is a decent review of a decent album. My only real complaint regarding this album is the fact that it is available in 'standard' and 'deluxe' versions. This appears to be the latest in a long line of record company ploys to extract the maximum amount of cash from the record buying public. In the past they would make an album and release it. Spare tracks recorded at the same sessions were used as 'b sides' of singles. As singles no longer sell in any great quantity, record companies seem to have resorted to releasing a DELUXE version of the same album, often a hugely inflated price. The recent Elvis Costello and the Roots album first appeared on Amazon at a price of £9.99 (standard version) and £21.99 (deluxe version) an extra £12 for an extra 3 tracks. The 'deluxe' version of Springsteen's last album contains an extra 2 tracks. Columbia Records really push the boat out, Dylan's bootleg series 8 contained an extra disc (12 tracks) unavailable elsewhere, the price of which was some £80 above the standard release. Whilst some of these 'deluxe' releases are great improvements over the standard versions (e.g a couple of richard Thompson's albums containing an extra CDs worth of material) most, including NEW, merely add 2 or 3 extra tracks. Around the time that 'Flaming Pie' was released the extra tracks would have automatically appeared on the 'standard' i.e only version of the album.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 09:59:30 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2013 10:00:12 BDT
Yes, having Deluxe and Standard versions is slightly cynical marketing - particularly as you can almost guarantee that in six month's time there will be a two disc edition of New - with new songs, live tracks, videos, etc which is similar to the forthcoming 2 disc edition of Bowie's The Next Day and many others.

Posted on 14 Oct 2013 10:58:14 BDT
Five stars? Are you serious?!? That would put in in the same league as BOTR, V&M, ToW, etc. etc. It's not even close to those.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 12:54:21 BDT
I think this is as good as anything in his solo career. Never been that fond of Venus & Mars myself, but each to their own.

I've only lived with this for a week, so long term who knows? I'm always slightly wary when people proclaim the latest release from a favourite artist as "the best ever" but that's my opinion at present - and it's only my opinion.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 13:21:08 BDT
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 13:31:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2013 13:31:48 BDT
I doubt McCartney is ever going to appeal to the mass market again. This seems more tailored in the style of the music he's produced over the last decade or so which has gained him some critical kudos. And I'd sooner take this over, say, Driving Rain or Flowers in the Dirt.

And Flowers was lauded at the time as the great return to form, but hasn't aged at all well. How well this endures is a good question - I think it will, but time will tell.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 14:54:49 BDT
The songwriting has gone south. Where is the equal of Lonely Road, I Do, Magic, This One, Distractions, That Day Is Done on this album?

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2013 15:53:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 14 Oct 2013 15:53:38 BDT
Out of your list I'd probably only take Distractions, the rest are good but not the best. New does lack the classic McCartney ballad - but as a collection of songs I'm more than happy with it.
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Mr. D. K. Smith

Location: South Wales, UK

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