James1985's NEW review

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James1985's NEW review

Postby james1985 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:11 pm

Three days and five or six listens in, I think I can write my NEW review.

So, NEW. It's a funny old title. Because, while he feels and sounds fresher and 'newer' than he did/does on Chaos and MAF, this album is really like an old, familiar friend. There's something on each track you feel you've heard somewhere before, whether it's a hint of melody, a vocal inflection, a little guitar twinkle or a bass run. He's gone for relatively young, relatively contemporary producers as – it seems – one last effort to have a hit album, a number one. But this has turned out to be the album for the McCartney fan. It's a culmination of everything that's gone before – with the benefit of a little bit of modern-ish production and the confidence that's come from his post-Beatles career-best run since Flaming Pie.

To the songs!

Save Us
Straight off the bat, a killer rocker. Guitars that hark to the Cardigans and the Strokes. Much better, tighter on the record than it was on those early live performance. The backing vocals deliver the classic McCartney hooks.

Alligator
Along with Early Days, the best track on the album. Takes some of the Chaos melodies and atmosphere and gives it a driving rhythm. Fun, playful lyrics that have obviously been given a bit of work. The quiet/synthy bridge is really startling on the first listen but it works fantastically.

On My Way To Work
Like a comfortable glove. Mid-tempo, relaxed, strumming McCartney. His favourite chord progressions. Back on the top deck of a bus for the first time since 67. Using the cigar-box guitar to give the song something different works really well. The final two chords of the middle 8/bridge are just such a classic McCartney manoeuvre.

Queenie Eye
A driving little powerhouse. Epworth's drums before the chorus comes in really make the song for me. He's not sounded as energetic as he does on this for years. I wouldn't have thought he could pull off a chirpy pop song at 71 as well as he does here, so hats off.

Early Days
The standout track. Beautiful, evocative lyrics. He sounds his age for perhaps the only time on the record. If the rest of the material hadn't been so strong, I would be screaming 'do an acoustic guitar/piano album' from the rooftops (I still think that should be the next project). Lovely backing atmosphere etc. I think one of the reviews (Pitchfork, I think) said that the final verse isn't about scoring John points, it's about how it feels for your early life to be mythologised and completely out of your control. And that's something only a few people have to live with. And is there a better line in the McCartney solo catalogue than "May sweet memories of friends from the past/Always comes to you, when you look for them"

New
More fun when stuck in the middle of the album. Doesn't sound out of place at all.

Appreciate
A real grower with some great hooks. Obviously a lot recent Fireman influence here, but reminded me of 222 (I think) of the MAF bonus songs. Love the little snare turnaround.

Everybody Out There
The song he's written at least ten times before, but it's okay. It rips along, is a bit of fun, and doesn't outstay its welcome.

Hosannah
Not quite the masterpiece that was promised by the hype, but a touching, quiet little piece that has a sense of Why So Blue and How Kind Of You to it. I do think a mellow/acoustic album should be the next project. Close-mic him, I want to hear those old vocal chords.

I Can Bet
Really fun verses and groove spoiled by a really lazy chorus – he could've done a lot better with it. Nice Wings vibe to the solo, though. The first instance on the album you feel he's rushed something through and just said 'that's good enough'

Looking at her
Great, sparse production, especially the intro. Good guitar sound, and well sung. I think the synthy keys in the bridge work well, too, it doesn't jar. One of the highlights of the album.

Road
Where's the hook? It's not come through to me yet. This is the only track I've not found myself humming yet. Maybe it will reveal its secrets over time, but we'll see. I'm sure it will.

Turned Out
Ouch – another that's not great. It's fine as a bonus track. Really sounds like something from the Complete Off The Ground.

Get me out of here
What a hoot! Perhaps the most fun thing on the whole disc. You don't often get him swinging and being a little bluesy. And the Indian-ish rhythms make it really stand out as something different. A little gem.

Scared
Classic late-period McCartney. Borrows heavily from Loving Game and others, but fairly revealing lyrics for him and those piano chord changes that he does so well. Perfect way to end.

It's as darn good as a pop McCartney album has any right to be in 2013. The lyrics aren't as revealing as DR, it's not got the consistent quality of CACITBY and it doesn't rock as hard as MAF, but it's got a little bit of everything from his solo years and a sprinkling of stuff we haven't seen before. I'm surprised he's pulled off an energetic pop album at 71 as well as he has. That acoustic, 'old-sounding' album will have to wait a few years. I'm glad he still has the inclination to get up in the morning and put something like this together.

So it's more of a 'classic McCartney' album than DR, CACITBY, MAF and EA were. But it continues that streak of quality. Great work.
Last edited by james1985 on Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
May sweet memories of friends from the past
Always comes to you, when you look for them
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby Mattal1958 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:20 pm

Nice review, James1985 (even though we disagree in places).

You forgot, HOSANNA, no?
in years to come/they may discover/what the air we breathe and the life we lead are all about/but it won't be soon enough for me
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby james1985 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:00 pm

Mattal1958 wrote:Nice review, James1985 (even though we disagree in places).

You forgot, HOSANNA, no?


You're right! :shock: I'll edit
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby chris » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:05 pm

james...you've forever been one of my favorite posters here. and this review here is a great example why.

again...my ears are virgin when it comes to listening to this from beginning to end...as I am waiting for my disc to be delivered from japan. but you paint such a completely thorough review...I nearly feel like I've heard it. I can't wait to compare notes.

i'm beginning to get concerned that the hype is sooo large...the word is sooo great...that the actual music may not live up to it. your review...and a few others here...have slightly assured me that it may not be the case.

thanks, james :salute
I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I got to get a belly full of wine.
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby JimQ » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:50 pm

Poor I can bet and turned out :-( turned out has an exhilarating fade out. And I can bet always makes me smile after the emotional perfection of hosanna. It's a tongue in cheek not at 70s music that actually stands up wonderfully on it's own. Road will grow on you - listen to the bass and piano intermingling!
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby mhnso » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:09 pm

Nice written rewiew James We have slightly different wiew Of some songs. It would be strange f not. Road is the track I intially wasn t that keen on but now has grown to become à fave,
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby mr h atom » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:21 pm

great review...can't say i totally agree 100%, but pretty close... :salute

very nice...very nice, indeed... ^:)^
lift up your head...and remember what your life is !
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby garrystanton » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:50 am

Enjoyed your NEW review, James....and, while I would agree with most of what you said (certainly New is better and more fun contextually when placed in the middle of the album), I have just thought of something I might well dwell upon a bit when I write my own- its the lyrics! Some are pretty good, and others sound like they were written on the back of the proverbial beermat! Mmmm... :-D
So I stood with a knot in my stomach,
And I gazed at that terrible sight
Of two youngsters concealed in a barrel,
Sucking monkberry moon delight.
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Re: James1985's NEW review

Postby EddieV » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:42 am

Great review James.

Always a plessure to read your sayings
Now junior behave yourself
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