My Review of NEW

Discussions of various topics about Paul not covered in the forums below.

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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby ComeOnBrotha » Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:42 am

I love Early Days as my early favorite so far. Anyone else hear a bit of Mother Nature's Son in it? I just love the rawness in Paul's voice and it's just a great song. Not a weak song on this disc. Sounds like one of his best. I'm happy :-D
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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby mhnso » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:38 am

Actually I also get some Mother Nature son from Early days. On the other hand that is a song as poignant that it stands firmly on it s own. On my first listening to the album that was my absolute favorite . Now I have a few other songs from the album that I think have the same outstanding quality. These are happy days for seasoned Maccafans
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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby JennyWren » Tue Oct 15, 2013 11:53 am

I've listened to the album only once. It's interesting to read others' opinions about "that sounds like" because many of these new tracks evoke in me moods/impressions/senses/feelings of other works. Some of them I can't place yet, but here are some of my impressions--

- Save Us immediately took me to Off the Ground.
- Early Days evoked Dance Tonight
- Looking at Her --> She's Given up Talking

I can't identify why I feel these relationships, but they're there. At least 4 others songs evoke a sense of familiarity, but I can't get them yet. For example, there's a drum sequence on one of the tracks that's straight out of .... something. I know I've heard it before.

Back to listening.....
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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby ComeOnBrotha » Tue Oct 15, 2013 12:07 pm

mhnso wrote:Actually I also get some Mother Nature son from Early days. On the other hand that is a song as poignant that it stands firmly on it s own. On my first listening to the album that was my absolute favorite . Now I have a few other songs from the album that I think have the same outstanding quality. These are happy days for seasoned Maccafans


2nd time through - really liking On My Way to Work and I Can Bet. Production is outstanding overall and weaves together beautifully. I have no idea how Appreciate (excellent) can be compared to Gratitude other than the titles. The songs couldn't be more different. Hosanna is growing on me quickly. So many different styles in these songs that are all Macca in his eclectic glory....

I would hold this LP up to the younger generation as a teachable moment as to how to create art in music. This is just magnificent. :cheers
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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby Awesoman » Tue Oct 15, 2013 5:30 pm

In typical Amazon.com fashion, I won't get to listen to New for a couple of days. :-| I will reserve judgement until I actually hear the thing.
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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby mr h atom » Tue Oct 15, 2013 9:40 pm

sorry, awes...hang in there, you're in for a treat... :salute
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Re: My Review of NEW

Postby Mattal1958 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:12 pm

And, for what it's worth, this is MY take on the album...

NEW (**** 1/2 stars, or an “A”)
-----------------------------------------------------

Favorite trax: “Early Days,” “Appreciate,” “Queenie Eye,” “Turned Out. “
If anyone hasn’t heard the album yet, and played those songs consecutively, you’d get an idea of how eclectic this album is. (And one of them is a bonus track!)

OVERVIEW:
Most of the album has an "everything including the kitchen sink" kind of feel; varied sounds (wich makes sense, since four producers worked with Paul), yet it all seems to fit together. Overall production is open ended and adventurous, and full of life, as opposed to, say, the very compressed, overly polished, synthesized, programmed sound of something like FLOWERS IN THE DIRT. Not to pick on that album specifically, but only to make comparisons, for most of FITD (and, for the record, I love “Put It There,” “Figure Of Eight,” and “That Day Is Done”), the tracks sound dead on arrival. The songs on NEW, on the other hand, are bursting with sounds and layers and energy that beg for and reward repeated listens (some moreso than others).
What Paul tried to do on McCARTNEY II and PRESS TO PLAY comes to a satisfying fruition to these ears here. Adjectives that come to mind-- catchy, experimental, nostalgic, current, energetic, varied.
The lyrics are better, overall, than much of his solo work, but then, Paul’s lyrics HAVE been better, overall, since FLAMING PIE. As he ages, as with (hopefully) many of us, he’s become wiser and more reflective.

HOWEVER. . . Anyone judging a McCARTNEY album basesd on lyrics misses the boat completely. An artist like Dylan paints his masterpieces with words. Macca paints with sound. Lyrics are, for the most part, secondary to Paul. Always have been. A good lyric on a song is a bonus. I haven’t “analyzed” all the words to the songs here, but overall, they seem fine. Some are pretty good, in fact.

So, here goes. Although part of me doesn't want to do this, will give each song a letter rating.

(1) SAVE US- appealing, tight, polished sounding rocker. Logical opening track, of the 15. Pleasant enough, but compared to the rest of the album, is almost generic sounding. Again, it's not that I don't think it's good, it's just that I don't think it's memorable. Most of the rest of the tracks here are. (RATING: B)

(2) ALLIGATOR- catchy, bouncy pop/rock, with interesting production, clever lyrics, and the first track of several that changes pace during the song. This one has a soft, falsetto bridge that connects the song, and it pops up twice. (RATING: A-)

(3) ON MY WAY TO WORK- my first thought was, "Just Another Day" from a male perspective. Interesting narrative, and a nice melody. Plods a bit, like "Magic" from DRIVING RAIN, but it's just hitting me that the percussion is done in a way that makes me think of an assembly line, which would lend itself to the song's title. Just an average guy going to his hum drum everyday job, day dreaming on the way. Seems like most critics like this song. It's an interesting track, but it isn't one that I would hit the REPEAT button on very often. (RATING: B)

(4) QUEENIE EYE- driving, psychedelia-laced power pop. Love the lyrics, among which is the line: "never pick a fight you're going to lose." Fun to try and figure out if he's singing about Wife #2, Heather, or if he's just talking about life in general. Perhaps both. Has an "Alligator"-like, falsetto bridge that connects the first half of the song with the second half. If the Beatles of 1967 were recording today, they might have come up with something that sounds like this track. (RATING: A+)

(5) EARLY DAYS- masterpiece. I have a soft spot for Paul's acoustic side, and this is one of his all time best. Fragile, vulnerable vocal. Beautifully arranged. GREAT lyrics. Sort of an update of "Here Today," but with more of Paul's take on things. (RATING: A+)

(6) NEW- the track we've all heard the most of, obviously. I went thru a brief "overplayed" period with this, but now, in the context of the rest of the album, I'm warming up to it again. Nice, upbeat, Revolver era pop. Echoes of "Good Day Sunshine/Got to Get You Into My Life/Penny Lane" with a dash of Beach Boys thrown in. Pity Paul's high register is so wobbly and thin now (which serves him well in "Early Days," but not so much here). Would have LOVED to have heard him sing this with his vocal chops of 15-20 years ago. Having said that, it's still a catchy tune. (RATING: B+)

(7) APPRECIATE- brilliant. Reading some of the somewhat negative takes on this song, I had expected to NOT like it. But, it grabbed me immediately, and I like it more with each listen. Hypnotic beat. Psychedelic r & b. Here, the changes (unlike in "Alligator and "Queenie Eye") have Paul reversing from falsetto with lighter instrumentation to lower register and a heavier sound. Works for me, and my love for this track is sealed by the great slide-like guitar playing that closes the track. (RATING: A+)

(8) EVERYBODY OUT THERE- like "Save Us," better than the live versions we heard prior to this release. Very catchy singalong, poppy anthem, with a lyric that tries to be something akin to "Give Peace A Chance" or "C'mon People," or "Freedom." Better than the latter two. Hopeful, not preachy. The only thing I don't like is the bizarre ending, which sounds like Paul is screaming out to outer space, trying to connect with other worlds...and there's kind of a cheesy science fiction-like sound effect thing going on at the very end. It kind of takes a little bit away from the song, IMHO. (RATING: B)

(9) HOSANNA- one of two tracks that I couldn't warm up to when I first heard the album (the other being "Road."). I still can't. Spacey, floating, surreal acoustic arrangement, but a bit too exotic sounding for me. The pre-release buzz (from months ago, actually) was this was a highlight of the album. To me, and I'll probably be in the minority, it's another one I wouldn't hit the REPEAT button on. Maybe, from the initial hype, I was expecting too much? (RATING: C-)

(10) I CAN BET- One of the reasons I like Paul is because he's a master of creating, when he wants to, straight, catchy pop rock. This fits that mold perfectly, and is pure ear candy. I could see this as some great lost track from a 1970's WINGS album. And I love the spacey fade on it (not unlike "Sweet, Sweet Memories"). (RATING: A)

(11) LOOKING AT HER- Had this song been on CHAOS or even MAF, it would have been pleasant, but nothing memorable. However, the production and arrangement of this song makes what would be another nice Macca pop love song transform into a really terrific track. Love the way the song goes from light falsetto pop to a much heavier sound at the end of the chorus. I don't know whose idea it was, but it works brilliantly! (RATING: A)

(12) ROAD- like "Hosanna," I was initially turned off by this song. It sounded aimless and meandering on a first listen. Repeated listens, however, are revealing layers and sounds that I wasn't picking up on at first. It's quickly becoming a song I'm going back to. Has a touch of '80's style to it on the chorus, or bridge, or whatever you want to call the change it goes through, and comes back to. Very unlike anything Paul has done pre-ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS. I know he got experimental on MCCARTNEY II and PRESS TO PLAY, but there's nothing on those albums that really hint at this (the only thing off the top of my head might be "Secret Friend"). Nice ending to the "official" album...but if you have the DELUXE version, there's more. (RATING: B+)

(13) TURNED OUT- see "I Can Bet." This one, though, is even BETTER. And, it's not even on the official album! I find that truly amazing. Even if he didn't want to put two songs on it that sounded similar, I'd have picked this over I CAN BET. It's a GREAT, catchy pop rocker, with a really nice, pace changing piano segment. Shades of "Sweet, Sweet Memories" on this one, too.
(RATING: A+)

(14) GET ME OUT OF HERE- Shades of early Paul, ala MCCARTNEY/RAM era. Interesting percussion sound that makes me think of "Dance Tonight" and even "Give Peace A Chance." Nice, tongue-in-cheek lyric (Paul, I don't really feel too bad about the tax man knocking on your door!). A throwaway, bonus track kind of thing, but, very enjoyable and fun, and one that, unlike "Hosanna," for example, I WILL hit the repeat button for! (RATING: B+)

(15) SCARED- the hidden/uncredited track. A fairly naked, just Paul and the piano ballad, but with touches of production and organ (funeral-like, actually) creeping in by the end. Very emotionally raw lyric. Almost the flip, darker side (musically) to "Warm And Beautiful." It's not exactly "For No One" melodically, kind of a bland tune. And, although they have nothing, really, in common musically, my thoughts immediately went to John's final track on JL/POB, "My Mummy's Dead." Some nice, soul-searching lyrics here. A love song, but not a silly one. (RATING: C+)


And, as of several listens, a day after release, this is my take on NEW. I think it is a terrific album. Kind of picking up where ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS left off, but, in a somewhat more traditional pop format. It's really just Paul being Paul. And this is really good Paul.


Of course, in two weeks, I’ll probably want to rewrite this review.

In two years, rewrite it again.

In twenty-- should I live that long-- yet again.

(I don't like ranking albums, but if I had to, this is right up there with FLAMING PIE, TUG OF WAR, CHAOS, MEMORY, and RAM...and, even though it's mostly covers, RUN DEVIL RUN.)
Last edited by Mattal1958 on Thu Oct 17, 2013 6:14 am, edited 3 times in total.
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: My Review of NEW

Postby chris » Wed Oct 16, 2013 7:52 pm

mattal...what a thoughtful review. and most indepth. between your and mhnso's writings...it's as if i'm imagining hearing it. seriously...very nice job.

I have to be up front on this...i'm waiting...not so patiently...for my disc to be delivered from cdjapan. i'm not sure the extra track is worth the wait. this I the first of paul's cd's I haven't bought/received/listened to on/before releases day. so...other than a few listens of New...I haven't heard it. I want to digest all of it at once. that's how I have to do it. i'm hoping it'll only be another day or so...then I can spend a week tethered to an electronic device...and supply my own opinion.

one thing tho...paul has always been slammed for his lyrics. you didn't go that far. and you did point out accurately that it's the melody that he brings, first and foremost, to his songs. we have one semi regular here...who even claims to write better lyrics than paul. but on that...let me say that paul may not be as obvious with his lyric writing...like Dylan/lennon...I don't find them as secondary as you do. he isn't obvious about his writing. he writes metaphorically. so he may come off as flighty...but it will have a deeper meaning...even if we may not know it. whereas if john was mad...he may have written a song called Anger. if paul was feeling the same emotion...he might write a song called It's Raining. same general intended meaning...but different avenues to get it across.

anyway...really...great review. keep posting. your posts are well thought out and always interesting. even if you might be a wee bit misguided on paul simon's works. :wink:
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: My Review of NEW

Postby Mattal1958 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 8:03 pm

thanks, Chris! I actually like a lot of McCartney's lyrics. I think he's under-rated. Problem is, he has put out some things with bad, or just strange, lyrics...which is fine, because he's put out a ton of work since he left those other three guys over 40 years ago. Some of it is bound to be sub-par. I just don't think lyrics are his main thing.

I'll have to list some of Macca's better lyrics' songs sometime. We might not even agree on those, but, again, I think you're right about the "metaphorically" bit. John wrote "How Do You Sleep?" which was as direct as you can get. Paul hid his shots at John (we only found out about them years later), with little lines and words that only he and John would know about.

I remember listening to an interview with John from around 1971, after RAM and just when IMAGINE was out. Lennon was defending "How Do You Sleep?" by saying Paul had taken shots at him all over RAM. He pointed out "you took your lucky break and broke it in two" and said "WHO'S lucky break?" Obviously, though, he was offended on some level. Also, "we believe that we can't be wrong" (from BACKSEAT...), to which John said, sarcastically, "oh, I believe that you just might POSSIBLY be wrong."

What I DID like about that interview was, despite saying RAM was too trippy, that he loved "3 Legs" (which I love too, but which, funnily, I always thought was a comment on the Beatles, too! Perhaps not).

Actually, though, in point of fact, John started it all with "I've seen religion from Jesus to Paul" on his first album, on the song I FOUND OUT. So, what was Paul supposed to do?

Sometimes I hate knowing so much about this stuff! I've forgotten a lot of it, too...
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: My Review of NEW

Postby mr h atom » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:14 pm

quite exquisite review, there matts...much like james review, can't agree 100% but very spot on, sir !! :-BD

and...CHRIS !! :YMHUG:

hang in there, bro...it's probably held up in the tax & tarriff department down at LAX... :-D

there'll all giving it a close listen...just to see what sort of mischief those sneaky japs are up to this time !!

it's a ...struggle, i know...but it's still the early days and you're scared...after all, it's all so new...but say a few hosannas and you'll learn to appreciate the road, i can bet !

on my way to work, i called cdjapan and it turned out it was all gonna be ok...soon...you'll be looking at her...all bright and shiny !!

now...get me out of here before everybody out there will poking me in my queenie eye !!

see ya later...alligator
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