Paul McCartney’s first full album of original material in nearly six years, ‘New’, (Kisses On The Bottom was mostly covers) sees Macca bring in four different producers. Normally when you hear contemporary artist’s bringing in so many producers it can look like a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. But when the producers are Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, Mark Ronson and Giles Martin, all of whom were personally known to McCartney it suggested he was surrounding himself with people who would get the best out of him.
Each producer brought a different style to the making of the record – for instance Epsworth brought an improvised style that lead to Save Us being produced in just four hours. It’s clear that this process was not a reinvention to McCartney’s sound but simply McCartney being reinvigorated. The result is that ‘New’ is one of those pleasant surprises you encounter all too infrequently – like finding a €50 euro note in your pocket that you thought you had spent.
Musically there is a rich mixture of instrumentation, amalgamating to a distinctively Beatles-esque sound. There is harpsichord on the starry eyed optimism of New, jangly guitar rock on Everybody Out There and joyful piano driving Queenie Eye. The inspiration for this collection comes from various sources: from childhood memories, to reminisce of jobs before pre Beatles fame and being married again. The acoustic Early Days is about McCartney and John Lennon going to record shops to listen to rock’n’roll records “dressed in black from head to toe/ two guitars across our backs”.
The synth and distorted vocals of Appreciate is out of sync with the majority of the record. It is awkward compared to the free flowing melodies that surround it while Road isn’t especially memorable. Thankfully these are rare missteps. Mostly what ‘New’ has to offer are super catchy, jaunty melodies such as On My Way to Work, I Can Bet and the aforementioned Save Us.
At the age of 71, it is a testament to McCartney’s ability as a songwriter than he is still capable of creating songs in this day and age that show he still has got what it takes to remain vital. It may not be a ‘Sgt Pepper’ or ‘Rubber Soul’, but ‘New’ deserves to be discovered by a legion of fans.
If you like Paul McCartney’s ‘New’, then check out Irish band The Statics.