Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Paul McCartney - New (2013)

I'm excited about this release, so I'm going to "live blog" this one on the first playing.  Somehow, I've managed to avoid any reviews of this album thus far, so I'm going in with an open mind (well, as open as I can be considering I've been a fan of McCartney's as long as I can remember). Evidently, there's more than one version of the album (which I consider a slap in the face from the record companies.  Thanks, Starbucks).  I got the 12 track model from my local Hastings yesterday for $10.99.  Taking the cellophane off the cardboard gatefold sleeve and sliding the disc into the tray...

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart:  it won't chart until next week, but Billboard is predicting a top 5 entry.

Tracks:  (keep in mind these are first impressions, admittedly not the best way to write about an album)
  1. Save Us: I'm not wild about Paul Epworth's production on this one, but a catchy wordless chorus saves it. Good opening track.  ✔
  2. Alligator:  Classic McCartney songwriting harkening back to his '70s work; this song wouldn't have been out of place on Back To The Egg.  Another great chorus and an outstanding bridge. Evidently, the alligator is a metaphor for something? ✔
  3. On My Way To Work: The plodding minor key accompaniment, accordion, and booming drums don't do much for me. ✘
  4. Queenie Eye:  Best song so far. Great chord progressions over a solid back beat and eighth note piano accompaniment. I almost described this one as "Beatlesque" but that should go without saying, right? ✔
  5. Early Days: I keep waiting for this folky song to get going, but it never quite does, it just drones along. ✘
  6. New:  Another winner with characteristic McCartney downward bass lines and falsetto cooing. I'm digging the sax parts, too. There's even a ending custom made for Glee-type a capella covers. ✔
  7. Appreciate:  I really like the sound of this one.  This song is the best example I've heard of someone updating McCartney's sound for modern ears.  Let me check out the producer on this one.  Giles Martin, George's son.  There ya go. ✔
  8. Everybody Out There:  I was turned off from the opening guitar licks.  It's not a particularly bad song, it just pales in comparison to what comes before it. ✘
  9. Hosanna:  Not a particularly strong song, but I'm digging the ethereal sound of it (if that makes any sense).  Still, it's one of the weaker tracks. ✘
  10. I Can Bet:  Another strong chorus that will be stuck in my ear all week. How does he do it so consistently?  Paul's ear for melody continues to amaze.  It's great to hear an analog Moog synth again. ✔
  11. Looking At Her:  The rare McCartney song in which the verse is better than the chorus.  We'd better turn this thing around and finish strong. ✘
  12. Road:  To me, this one has an '80s feel that I dig. Almost like it was produced by Lol Creme or another one of the 10cc guys. ✔
  13. Scared: Not really a hidden track (which I abhor), but it's needlessly unlisted. A nice closing ballad with Paul accompanying himself on piano with some beautiful, unexpected chord changes. ✔
Now that I've heard the album, I'll take a peek over at Metacritic and see their rating.  77.  I'm good with that.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Chaos And Creation In The Backyard (2005)
Wingspan: Hits and History (2001)
Flaming Pie (1997)
Unplugged: The Official Bootleg (1991)
All The Best! (1987)
Tug of War (1982)
Band On The Run (1973)

1 comment:

  1. More "live blogs" please. The anticipation, the suspense, the off the cuff remarks all make for good reading.

    Guess you didn't mind being slapped about the face by record companies too much - you still bought a copy :)

    Did you listen to the bonus tracks via Spotify?

    Speaking on a purely aesthetic level, I prefer the blue/pink packaging of the deluxe version to the orange/pink of the regular version.