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Monday, October 28, 2013

Paul McCartney - New

Paul McCartney – New
2013, MPL Music

Paul McCartney.  You know… the former Beatle.  He’s at it again.  His latest album is New, and it’s the most vibrant work out of McCartney since Flowers in the Dirt.  The energy and newness this time around come from McCartney working with a host of producers. The result is a different feel and mojo for each song. 

New launches with "Save Us", an urgent rocker with Wings era flair.  The chorus is pure melodic magic, and in the days of AOR radio would have been a major hit. "Alligator" is a quirky little pop song typical of McCartney. "On My Way To Work" is a brilliant observational love song with a twist. . Written with a swaying feel, McCartney’s subject is obsessed from a distance.  "Queenie Eye" is a silly bit of fun typical of McCartney. 

"Early Days" is a gorgeous reminiscence of the early days with The Beatles. Gone is any sense of fame or stardom, and in its place is the sense of inspiration that got it all started in the first place. "New" sounds like a classic Beatles tune, full of melodic gold and interesting little musical turns. McCartney goes for a decidedly more modern sound on "Appreciate", using a looped electronic arrangement as the bed for as bland and repetitive pop tune that McCartney has ever released. 

"Everybody Out There" hearkens back to McCartney' work with Wings, but with a more urgent feel. It's edgy and dark, but with that singular pop sensibility that stands apart from the crowd. "Hosanna" is an unwieldy yet appealing love ballad that's more speculative than anything else. It's an enjoyable look at McCartney writing in dark timbres. "I Can Bet" is a wonderfully edgy piece of song craft from a man perhaps cajoling a wary love along into something deeper. Te arrangement is at times diffuse and without direction, but the overall effect is stunning. 

"Looking At Her" explores insecurity in the light of beauty in a fashion that most everyone has experienced a least once in their life. The universality of the song is appealing, and the edgy pop sensibility is icing on the cake. "Road" is a story song that is less accessible than the rest of the album, but no less intriguing for that. There's a mix of hope and hopelessness hear that seems disconnected but is so closely sound they are inseparable. McCartney bows with "Scared", a lovely baroque pop ballad full of overcast light. Love and its complications are on display here in minor keys and beautiful reflections.

It's amazing that after all these years that McCartney can still reach into the depths of genius and pull out a surprise. New shows McCartney’s edge and experience, but behind it all is that same simple genius that has driven his success with The Beatles, Wings, and on his own.  The voice perhaps isn’t as strong as it once was, and not everything here works on all levels, but McCartney still retains the alchemy to spin gold out of eight simple notes.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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