New

Paul McCartney

Master of the melody, Sir Paul McCartney has something NEW for us all…a CD called New. Much ballyhooed of late, with spirited stops to media far and wide, a killer star-studded video for the song "Queenie Eye," what seems like a constant touring schedule and impromptu concerts in Times Square and Convent Garden with this 14- song collection - McCartney is pretty much on top of his game as ever.

Starting with the free slappy back beat fun rocker on the opener "Save Us," the first thing evident here (beyond that fact that McCartney is rocking) is that the cute Beatle is in as fine voice as he has ever been. The rumor is the man has been singing his old songs in the same keys as they were originally recorded, and in the case of "Alligator," we get an even better McCartney vocal floating over another spirited tune.

"Queenie Eye" has that classic mid-70s Wings sound with its Mellotron opening, inspired big bass notes, and McCartney's falsetto during the bridge. It's just another example of a great pop rock melody from one of the greatest songsmiths. The real masterpiece is the acoustic, could-be-throwaway-if-you're-not paying-attention "Early Days." It had me crying from the second it began, with a very simply produced sparse track, but deceptive in its packed honest punch and how revealing McCartney is allowing himself to be.

The title track is as commercial a single as you're likely ever to find on anyone's album, but quickly we get some backward recorded instrument sounds and the steam-release synths of "Appreciate." For this, his sixteenth studio album, McCartney employed four different producers and it shows on the variety of sounds and genres that he works his melody magic over. Tightly programmed drums and softer acoustic guitar opens up the sly "Looking At Her."

"Road" sees more of an atmospheric sound, with keys and piano, a very un-McCartney-like vocal and handclaps at the end of the chorus. A loose acoustic moves with the singer's vocal over a bongo beat and big bass drum on the sardonic "Get Me Out of Here." The last tune is "Scared," a sweet vocal over a simple piano line. There's not much else I can advise beyond going out and checking out New for yourself. Paul McCartney is every much the master musician, writer, vocalist as we always known him to be, and it shows on New.

~ Ralph Greco, Jr.

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