“New” is Pretty Old
If there is one word to describe Paul McCartney’s recent album titled “New,” it would certainly not be the album’s title. Though this is McCartney’s first album to consist of entirely new compositions, it still invokes many of the same rhythms and tunes as the British singer’s previous 15 albums since leaving The Beatles. In fact, far from having a completely original sound, “New” is almost an amalgamation of McCartney’s diverse songs. McCartney has stated that this album is inspired by both recent and old events in his life, which is clearly visible through the wide range of sound displayed in many tracks.
Waves of nostalgia are spread throughout the album, with songs like “Hosanna” being reminiscent of McCartney’s days as a member of The Beatles. The track following “Hosanna,” “I Can Bet,” also invokes the upbeat feel of many of The Beatles’ works. The repetitiveness of the line “I can bet” seems akin to that of “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” recorded 50 years earlier.
Although there is nothing drastically new about the album, McCartney has proven that he has not lost his touch even at 71 years of age. Each track on the album is replete with the familiar McCartney energy, even those that don’t incorporate his usual rock style. In “Early Days,” McCartney sings, “They can’t take it from me, if they tried/ I live through those early days./ So many times I had to change the pain to laughter/ Just to keep from getting crazy.”
He shows that he still has strong feelings about his past, which he draws strength from during the more difficult points of his life. Listeners are stuck by references to his past several other times throughout the album too, such as in “Looking at Her” and “Alligator.”
Many of the tracks, however, veer in different directions. McCartney initially wanted to work on the album with one producer, and put four of his favorites on trial. He ended up working with all four of them, each bringing a different sound and feel. “Everybody Out There” is infused with McCartney’s signature electric guitar and head slamming beats.
“Get Me Out of Here,” incorporates more of an old western feel, making full use of an almost entirely acoustic sound. This track also reveals McCartney’s constant battle with being in the spotlight for the majority of his life. “I’m a celebrity,” he sings, “will someone get me out of here?”
The next and last track on the album, “Scared,” parallels the melancholic feel that “Get Me Out of Here” presented, displaying his hesitation to express his love.
Though there is not much new about “New,” Paul McCartney does not disappoint fans or critics alike. The album was chosen as BBC Radio 2’s Record of the Week and has generated a positive buzz among fans. The wide range of sound, rather than making the album disconnected, shows McCartney’s ability to please with any type of music. With “New,” McCartney has proven that even after 50 years, he’s not going anywhere.
ONLY RECOMMENDED IF: You’re a McCartney fan that tolerates his trend of playing the same rhythms that extend back to his time with The Beatles.