Paul McCartney

Hear Music, 2013

REVIEW BY: Curtis Jones


Paul McCartney has proven that he wants to keep rocking well into his seventies. But the release of New and the way it has been marketed really poses a major question about this point in McCartney's career: will there be anything that is truly "new?" 

The whole rollout of New seemed to portend some great fresh ideas from the man who brought so many old standards to pop music and blazed rock and songwriting trails. As it sadly turns out, the effort falls short of being very "new." Despite using four different producers (Mark Ronson, Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, son of Beatles engineer Glyn Johns, and Giles Martin, son of the great George Martin), much of the music sounds like a rehash of previous work, and strangely I could hear echoes of 1989's my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Off The Ground album. A far cry from "new." Even his decision to promote the album by doing impromptu live concerts in various crowded public venues smacks of the Beatles' January 1969 rooftop concert, even though it has been said that the idea came from McCartney’s daughter. 

But let's cut Sir Paul some slack for the fact that he's been doing this for more than 50 years now. It is hard to be both new and popular at the same time after all that time. And New does provide an enjoyable listen that holds together well, despite the odd decision to use four different producers. Some of the songs are completely forgettable, though, while others can take their place in amongst the McCartney pantheon of good stuff. The title track is one of those indelibly positive, upbeat pop songs that really do shine through on the album. "Early Days" is one of the better autobiographical tunes that any of the Beatle members did about being a Beatle. But these positive strikes are weighed down by the incredibly annoying "Appreciate,” which drones on in some strange attempt to bring a strange electronic R&B sound into the mix. "Queenie Eye" is one of those tunes that would have been well served to have had better lyrics and subject matter.  Finally, the hidden track "Scared" was one that I expected to grow into a gorgeous opus as "Beautiful Night" did on Flaming Pie. Without it, the end of the album landed with an unsatisfying whisper. 

A colleague here at the Daily Vault put it perfectly that this may be an album that you spin it and forget it. For the millions of McCartney fans out there, there is certainly something to keep your attention for a little while, but it falls short of its moniker even while providing some bright spots.

Rating: C

User Rating: A-


Very surprised at the 2 bad reviews for this cd on this site. I follow McCartney's career and generally buy his cd's. And some have been very bad. And much has been mediocre. Having said that, I find this one to be one of his best. I have been playing it for weeks non-stop. Yes, Appreciate is bad as is Hosanna. Other than those 2, I am pretty stunned at how good the rest is. Shocked, almost. A Minus from me!
I don't view a C as a "bad" review. It is average. I think in the context of Paul's work, this falls somewhere in the middle. Not as good as Flaming Pie or Band on the Run, but not as bad as McCartney II or some others I won't name for fear of tar and feathers. :)

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