Oct 18, 2013 Web Exclusive
New finds Paul McCartney no closer to resting on his golden laurels than he was 40 years ago. After last year's album of standards, Kisses on the Bottom, New is his first collection of new material since 2007's Memory Almost Full, and judging by the tone of the album's liner notes, he sounds downright buzzed about sharing the experience and its outcome.
The original plan for the album had been for McCartney to log time with a handful of producers and ultimately select one with whom to go the distance, but he was reportedly so pleased with the results that they were all kept in the fold. And why not? McCartney's not likely to green-light a group of tracks that don't cohere, and an influx of new ideas probably easily overrode concerns over too many cooks in the kitchen.
McCartney's never been one to trot out a coat that he doesn't wear well, and whatever the producers brought to these dozen songs seems to suit his skin. Interestingly, some of the album's liveliest rockers, the opening "Save Us" and "Queenie Eye," were handled by Paul Epworth, who co-wrote and helmed Adele's 21. Mark Ronson was on hand for New's most musically direct Beatles reference, where the title track is powered by a "With A Little Help From My Friends" bounce.
It happened to be with Giles Martin, the son of Beatles producer George Martin, that McCartney stepped the farthest outside of his comfort zone (if such a thing exists) to the loops and layers of "Appreciate"; their collaboration also bore the more straightforward, Wings-spirited "Everybody Out There." And for New's most sweetly, unabashedly nostalgic turn, McCartney paired with Ethan Johns and kept the setting appropriately basic for the acoustic "Early Days."
Occasionally glancing back while moving forward, McCartney sounds genuinely enthusiastic to be creating something new. (www.paulmccartney.com)
Author rating: 7/10
Average reader rating: 8/10
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