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