15 NOV 13 CHRIS SLAWECKI
Even though Paul McCartney has been a solo artist five times as long as he was in The Beatles (you can check my math), it’s still so tempting to take songs from his latest release, NEW (Hear Music, 2013), and put this one in the "sounds like the Beatles" box, that one in the "sounds like Wings" box.
NEW is insightful and articulate pop with some rough edges deliberately left unfinished. Happening producers such as Giles (son of Sir George) Martin and Ethan (son of Glyn) Johns keep NEW as contemporary and in the moment as its title. The murky, moody "Appreciate" builds from looped vocals and guitar parts, its rhythm flickering on a hip-hop beat. The title track wraps up more sprightly pop with horns, vocals and strings that sound ornamental yet nicely tight.
But McCartney’s expert songcraft -- the real power in this music -- is nothing new at all, and its production allows his classic sound to shine through. Few songwriters could craft art from the thoughts and feelings they process "On My Way To Work" or explain so simply why they’re feeling "Scared" like this one can.
"Early Days" offers genuine treasure, tender but bruised reflections on McCartney’s fledgling days with the Fab Four (and personal shot across the bow of Beatles "experts" who weren’t ever there): "Now everybody seems to have their own opinion about who did this and who did that/As for me, I don’t see how they can remember when they weren’t where it was at."