Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New by Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney’s eagerly awaited album, appropriately titled New, is another feather in his cap. McCartney doesn’t need the acclaim, but it’s nice to see him create an album that is so warmly received. That has not always been the case; mainstream music critics have often unfairly criticized McCartney, but not this time. From my own small fanboy perspective, New is great, and I think it rates as among McCartney’s best. The album opens with a rocker, Save Us, followed by another rocker, Alligator. These two songs set the tone for what is generally an up-tempo pop album. The third song, On My way to Work, is the song everyone is talking about. A ballad that recalls is youth in Liverpool, McCartney rhapsodizes about a photograph on a cigarette packet: “How can I have so many dreams and one of them not come true.” A haunting melody balanced with some violin and cello work and produced by Giles Martin (son of you-know-who), this is another McCartney classic. Joining McCartney are long-time bandmates Rusty Anderson, and Paul “Wix” Wickens. The session for On My way to Work includes musicians Cathy Thompson, Laura Melhuish, Patrick Kiernan, Nina Foster, Peter Lale, Rachel Robson, Caroline Dale, Katherine Jenkinson, Chris Worsey, Richard Pryce, and Steve McManus, all unknown to the average radio listener. The point being that in McCartney’s post-Beatles, Post-Wings career – he has consistently sought out and worked with talented musicians. And he’s not afraid to try something different. New features musical flourishes and some digitized rhythmic groove that add texture to this immensely enjoyable collection. McCartney even takes a crack at the revisionist “historians” in Early Days when he sings: “They can’t take it from me if they try,” and pointedly states “Now everybody seems to have their own opinion, who did this and who did that, but as for me, I don’t see how they can remember, when they weren’t where it was at.” Other stand-out songs include I Can Bet, a raucous dance number, and Looking at Her. I purchased the “Deluxe Edition” of New which includes extra songs and one “Hidden Track” (Track 15) which I had to google to learn is titled Scary. I’ve been listening to Paul McCartney’s New for a few weeks now and I haven’t tired of it.

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