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Paul McCartney’s up to “Something New”, and I don’t mean The Beatles release from June of ’64. But like the vintage Capitol album, this NEW release does include something new as well as some things he’s said before. Paul’s taken the past six years to venture out on his own again AND also partner up with someone new (everyone knows her as Nancy. More on that later). Paul says falling in love again was his conduit to writing this next batch of love songs, and he’s done so on New, out now from Concord Music Group.
The liner notes on “New” say Paul’s been busy, “New songs needed to be recorded” he says. Some came to him after dropping his daughter Beatrice off at school. Some came with a cup of tea in one hand and a guitar in the other. However they came, Paul fans are glad they did. The “New” CD contains 12 tracks, but there are many others, including a hidden track and one from Japan. I’ll explain shortly.
Paul’s work on the songs on “New” included the work of four fab producers.
“The original idea was to go to a couple of producers whose work I loved, to see who I got on with the best – but it turned out I got on with all of them! We made something really different with each producer, so I couldn’t choose and ended up working with all four. We just had a good time in different way”, says Paul.
The producers are Mark Ronson, who produced Amy Winehouse’ records, and deejayed Paul and Nancy’s wedding reception on Lennon’s 71st birthday, “till 3 in the morning”, said Paul. Producer 2 is Paul Epworth, co-writer and architect of Adele’s monstrous “21″, and many cool indie records. The CD also bleeds Beatles’ DNA. Giles Martin, son of George, had his hand in 10 songs, the most of any producer on the album. His famous father was probably enough to get him the gig, but he sealed his deal with the brilliant work he did remixing tracks from The Beatles catalog for the Love Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas. Then there’s “Let it Be’s” original producer, Glynn John’s son, Ethan, who made the Kings of Leon’s much loved, grittier early albums and more recently both Vaccines records. Together, the Fab Four 2013 & the Fifth Beatle made a rocking record that recoils with heavy riffs and hearty emotion.
There’s a lot of “new” love on the CD. Most of the songs written while Paul’s relationship with Nancy was fun and fresh (and hopefully still is), and scary at times, like in the “hidden” track entitled “Scared”. Just Paul on piano, vocals, bass and vibraphone, telling, we assume Nancy, “I’m scared to say I love you. Afraid to let you know.” That title’s not printed on the CD, but appears as the album”s 13th track on the standard edition, and track 15 on the deluxe.
Here are the 15 songs found on the Deluxe edition:
Track 1: Save Us. A rocking number that Paul’s been performing live recently. This one has tentacles reaching out to a “new” relationship too, but with power and oomph. Perfect, driving song to lead off the CD.Track 2. Alligator. This Mark Ronson produced track features Paul’s current band. Again, a song asking for his “new” love to “dare and find his key”, someone he can “give his alligator to.”
Track3. On My Way to Work. A track that seems to show Paul as the “everyman”, riding the bus to work, wondering when his dreams will come true, reminiscent of his days as a young boy riding the double decker.. The song has string sections, violas and cellos and Paul seems to take the bus to the far east. His entire band, minus Abe Laboriel Jr, play on this track.
Track 4. Queenie Eye. Since he wrote his first song at 14, Paul has had a great talent for taking us on a journey through the memories of his childhood. Queenie Eye uses a rhyme in a game that Paul played with his mates as a boy. Beatle studies will hear a flashback to the 1967 Christmas Message to the Fans, Christmastime is Here Again, “O-U-T spells out”. A great track. One of my favorites.
Track 5. Early Days. This one keeps coming back as the fan favorite. This Giles Martin produced track reminds us of the Beatle days in Hamburg, with a guitars strapped on their backs and hair slicked back with Vaseline, looking for and listening to the music that inspired them to write and perform. It’s the lyrics in this one that will grab you and take you back to the Cavern. I can already hear it placed at just the right moment at an upcoming Macca concert. Listening to the words conjures up images of those smokey early days.
Track 6. New. This is the fun track that kicked off promotion for “New”. It clearly shows the fun and excitement of a fresh new love being drunken in by Paul. This one’s showed up at almost every performance of songs from “New”, and deservedly so. A great, romping track Paul says deserves to be played on one of those long drives in the family Caddy. “We can do what we want. We can live as we choose”. Choose New love.
Track 7. Appreciate. Another Giles track that reminds us to pick your head up in the middle of a crisis. This one shows the great craftsmanship of Martin’s vision. It’s very UN-Beatlelike though tomorrow may never know this track is a comprised of spliced together tape loops and guitar loop sounds. Giles convinced Paul to make those into a song that we can appreciate.
Track 8. Everybody Out There. This one has a Wings vibe, ala Band on the Run’s Mrs. Vandebilt. It’s all hooks and beat with backup vocals reminiscent of Linda, and it’s no wonder, the liner notes list “McCartney Family Chorus” and the same string players as on the On My Way to Work. My favourite track on the CD.
Track 9. Hosanna. This Ethan Johns produced track features only Paul vocals, guitar, bass, drums and tape loops and Johns playing an iPad Tambora app. If the album needed one, this is the bathroom break.
Track 10. I Can Bet begs you to “listen to me, I’ve got no plan but I’m your man”. Again it has the power and drive of the album’s opening track and an appeal to “New” love, a theme running through this work. Great track with a lot of layers.
Track 11. Looking at Her. Another Giles Martin production features great rhythm and brilliant Macca rhymes, with his voice, seemingly put through a leslie like John’s on Revolver, but this time, it’s programmed keyboards and tape loops being sung from the highest mountain. Great track.
Track 12. Road. The only co-writer on this CD is producer Paul Epworth, whose name makes its third appearance along side Paul McCartney’s on the writing credits. I assume much of the writing might have been done in the studio as Paul and Paul play and program some electronic instruments on their three tracks. That being said, this a rather quietly sung ditty with pure Macca emotion, upbeat and headed for the light.
Track 13. (deluxe edition) Turned Out. Turns out Rusty, Brian and Abe show up on this one too, which could mean it could turn up at a future Macca show. A bouncy track reminiscent of Chaos and Creation’s Promise to You Girl. I like it.
Track 14. (deluxe edition) Get Me Out of Here. What I love about this song is the Rocky Racoon vocal vibe Paul delivers. You can almost hear him ask for a Gideon bible as he sings the song with a story-telling strum on acoustic, washboard and thimbles, while Rusty Anderson plays a water bottle. You wonder if the name “Nancy” in the White Album track set him off on this journey. One of coolest songs on “New”.
Track 15. (hidden track) Scared. (see above). This track shows Paul’s vulnerability and insecurity, even with his success, at confirming he’s found reciprical love. A nice way to wrap up the disc.
There’s also a track found on the Japanese edition, Struggle, which we’ve posted in the Beatle Brunch Club for you to listen to, at http://www.beatlebrunchclub.com.
Now, where should you get it? i-tunes is a good start, but if you’re like me and enjoy reading from the original package, Best Buy, Walmart or Target are your best bets. Target’s Deluxe Edition is the only one that comes with a DVD, “A Rendezvous With Paul”, 22-minutes of behind-the-scenes from Paul’s “Out There Tour”. If you’ve ever bought the VIP experience at Paul’s concert, you’ll love this tour. There’s no mention of the new CD, but you do get a feel for life on the road and backstage with Paul , and for the first time, we get to hear from his band members, who’ve been with Paul longer than “those other guys” played with Paul. Now Beatle Brunch listeners, YOU can WIN the CD in our weekly Mind Games Contest at http://www.brunchradio.com.
All in all, “New” is fresh, fun and full of risk taking riffs. Couple that with Paul’s willingness to appear almost everywhere and participate in some tongue in cheek chats and skits with the two Jimmys on late night TV, and his popping up randomly in Times Square and Covent Garden, give “New” a Wings-like spontaneity that Paul enjoyed in the early 70′s.