Paul McCartney is an old dog. But on his latest full length release, McCartney proves that he still has plenty of new tricks. New comes just over a year after the release of his latest release, 2012’s Kisses on the Bottom. McCartney showed his versatility with that album, branching out into the jazz world. This time, he returns to the mainstream world with an album that offers listeners something old and something new. Sorry, nothing borrowed and nothing blue. Yes, that bad joke was fully intended. All in all, McCartney has proven once more with this record that he is not afraid to take chances, unlike so many of his fellow musicians. Whether it’s incorporating his older influences, a more modern vibe, or both together, it all works here to make New an album that proves once again why Sir Paul is an artist whose music transcends generations.
McCartney wastes no time on New showing that he remains fearless about taking chances. That is evident right from the album’s opener, ‘Save Me.’ The staccato style guitar part mixed with the equally sharp drumming of Paul Epworth combine for a nice up-tempo modern rock style song. Making the song truly interesting is the song’s urgent energy. It is in direct contradiction to its lyrical content. Lyrically speaking, McCartney writes a standard song based in a matter of a relationship. He writes, “I can try to give you everything you ever wanted/You’re not hard to please/And the only thing I’m asking/In return is something/You can give with ease/Keep on sending your love/IN the heat of battle/You got something that’ll/Save us/Save us now.” Considering this lyrical content, the energy in the song’s musical side actually seems out of place. Interestingly enough, the side by side of the two actually works when they are put together. They come together to make ‘Save Me’ a good opener for New.
‘Save Me’ is a good start to New because it is new in every sense of the word. The new material keeps coming in the songs that follow. Each song will find its own special place for McCartney’s legions of fans. One of the most notable of the album’s other new is one that actually looks back to the old, metaphorically speaking. At the same time, it is also used as a response to critics’ words. That song is simply titled, ‘Early Days.’ There is something very special about this song. McCartney’s writing and his more subdued vocal style make this such an emotional moment among some rather interesting other pieces that comprise his new record. He writes in this song, “They can’t take it from me if they try/I lived through those early days/So many times I had to change the pain to laughter/Just to keep from getting crazed/Dressed in black from head to toe/Two guitars across our backs/We would walk the city roads/Seeking someone who would listen to the music/That we were writing/Down at home/But they can’t take it from me if they tried/I lived through those early days/So many times I had to change the pain to laughter/Just to keep from getting crazy.” McCartney makes visualizing these images so simple through his almost narrative style writing. And his vocal style makes the song that much more of an emotional moment. That combination of music and lyrics in this case make this song sure to be one of the surprising standout songs from New.
‘Early Days’ is easily one of the most surprising songs included in New. The song’s combination of music and lyrics is certain to take listeners on a deeply emotional musical journey. That being the case, it only makes sense that he would follow up that journey with a song that will take fans of both his solo work and his work with The Beatles back in time with the album’s title track. From the moment this song starts, listeners will be transported back to their own childhood, hearing the “Fab Four” for the very first time. It sounds like it would have been a perfect fit on the band’s hugely popular 1967 record, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, only it has been updated with a slight twenty-first century kick. The song’s lyrical side is just as thought provoking and is sure to have listeners talking. He leaves this song up to interpretation as he writes, “Don’t look at me/It’s way too soon to see/What’s gonna be/Don’t look at me/All my life/I never knew/What I could be/What I could do/Then we were new/You came along/And made my life a song/One lucky day/You came along/Just in time/While I was searching for a rhyme/You came along/Then we were new/We can do what we want/We can live as we choose/You see there’s no guarantee/We’ve got nothing to lose/Don’t look at me/I can’t deny the truth/It’s plain to see/Don’t look at me.” On the surface this makes the song come across as having been written from the standpoint of someone that is rather unsure of himself or herself. But again, that’s not entirely clear. And that’s not a bad thing, either. It will most certainly lead to plenty of discussion among McCartney’s fans for some time when they pick up New. And it’s just one of so many other songs throughout this record that fans will find enjoyable for their own reason. New is available now in stores and online. It can be downloaded via iTunes at http://www.itunes.com/paulmccartney. More information on this and other releases from Paul McCartney is available online at http://www.facebook.com/PaulMcCartney, http://google.com/+PaulMcCartney, http://twitter.com/PaulMcCartney, http://www.myspace.compaulmccartney, and http://www.paulmccartney.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.