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Info 101: Musicbits 56: McCartney's New actually is new

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New by Paul McCartney


"NEW" by Paul McCartney on Hear Music (US)

So many times over the years, the new McCartney album would be somewhat disappointing with three or four great tracks and a lot of filler. Not so this time. "New" could be his best album since "Tug of War". All of the songs have a fresh perspective, unlike anything he's done before yet reminiscent of everything he's done but in an abstract way. The use of young producers is only part of the explanation. The rest is McCartney himself.

Paul is his biggest fan and he's a perfectionist above and beyond the call. At 71, offering a new set of the same old same old would not be an option. Giving his audience his thoughts and views would require a sound no one had heard from him before and that would mean playing with the song structure, making the instruments sound different and keeping his vocals vital and crisp. Man! Did he succeed!

From "Save Us", a driving rocker, to the hidden track "Scared", an up-tempo but winsome lament, this album crackles. There's no other word for it. Each song unfolds like turning the crisp new pages of a book. Each song has a wonderfulness about it that lets one inside a part of Paul's mind, lets one hear his feelings and emotions. As well as he's succeeded before, this is a whole new level of insight and clarity. He and his band have never been this good together in studio and this material has to be a blast to play live.

The songs included are looks back at his pre-Beatle days ("On My Way to Work"), his childhood ("Queenie Eye"), his early-Beatle life ("Early Days", "New") and his recent marriage ("Look at Her", "Scared"). The rest of the selections fit in around these to fill out his train of thought. There's nothing disjointed or out of place. The entire album flows with a logical stream of consciousness that is beautifully perfect.

This album should be named album of the year. It is definitely that for this author. As a life-long McCartney fan, it's easy to point out his short-comings because they stand out like neon signs on a pitch-black night. There are no short-comings here. This album is first class all the way and will be played to an early demise, forcing one to buy it a second time--just like "Tug of War" and "Band on the Run".


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