MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

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MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby garrystanton » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:59 pm

Hello people

Well, the dust has settled a bit, and I have got my head round Paul's latest offering. Take a seat, and have a read....

by the way, I'd like to wish all my mates here a Happy New Year. Cheers...!

He's not really like anyone else, our Paul, is he? He is, in fact, a one-off. Yeah, there are other one-offs in this galaxy we call pop/rock:
Bowie, the surreal, inventive genius who rarely fails to surprise; Springsteen, the blue-collar Joe who connects with his fans like no-one else;
there are, of course, others, many others, but I think the point I'm trying to make about Paul, and I have made it elsewhere, is that his songs are
so...well, Paulish. I have thought about this a lot- why do his songs not get covered more? Ok, Yesterday is the most covered song of all time, etc
but the reason is: they're different. Somehow. Its the chord use, its the effortless musicality, its that voice (more about that later), its the cheeky
little moments when he pastiches himself. The lyrics can be bland at times, admittedly, but what about Monkberry Moon Delight? wtf? Ok, Screaming Jay Hawkins
covered MMD in 1974...you should hear it- its a hoot!

The new album surprises from the start, with the simple, almost Neanderthal riff, the stadium-friendly lyric, the sheer ambience of spontaneity- groovy, spellbinding rocking out.
Save Us is never going to win Ivor Novello awards for brilliant songwriting, but this track is all about feel, and performance. The drum track possesses an energy which has been
largely missing from Paul latterly. You find yourself loving this in a way that hasn't really been possible for a while on Paul's albums. Yes, we are Macca
fans and as such will always find things to like, but love? That's been harder, of late, but the beginning of NEW fills us with a kind of primitive, yearning hope.
And Save Us does deliver, in its uncomplicated, almost inspired, way. This is Wings on speed, and what's wrong with that?

The little creaks and homeyness at the beginning of Alligator put me in mind of Paul's first solo album, all warts and reality. However, the track itself is actually quite complex.
Some of the lead guitar work is a bit 'leaky' and indistinct but is all the better for this. The breakdown is reminiscent of Strawberry Fields-vintage mellotron, and with Paul's new noble
warrior voice, sounds great. The mellotron, in fact seems to pan left, while the very 21st-century synth is positioned off to the right.
Lyrically, Alligator is interesting, all questing and yearning and talking romantically about keys. I love it: there's honesty here, and something else. Maturity, yes,
but also a kind of open-heartedness which is so welcome. The doo-doohs which appear with the harpsichord sound brilliant, and somehow the net result is, paradoxically, cheeky, and boyish, aged and true.

The simple acoustic guitar chords of the third track are deceptively simple- G, C and Eminor- but soon the song builds into something quite substantial, with glorious harmonies, and an almost sitar-like guitar line. There is a harmonium here, organic handclapping, and an ominous up and down guitar figure which is quite exciting in a raw, edgy way. Even the strings, once omnipresent in Paul's work, are mixed nice and low, yet they sound really effective. All in all, On My Way to Work is a standout recording/ performance for me, as well as a great song. Its as autobiographical as Paul gets (ok, Early Days is poignant) and a brilliant performance.

The old mellotron gets another run out in Queenie Eye's intro, and is a bit Dear Prudence. This track occupies that limbo land between pop and rock. Whatever it is, its an energetic
piece, with massive drumming from producer Paul Epworth, and brilliant musicianship all round. This reviewer especially loved the huge slide guitar part that accompanies the choruses. QE is one of those songs that could, depending on your perception, be described as either nonsense verse or a kind of universalist one that can mean differing things to different people. Is this about
Heather Mills? Is it about his long, not always harmonious dealings with those in the music business? Is it about getting on a bit? You decide, but I do love this track, a full aural landscape
with balls and substance.

Paul has a long and lucrative relationship with acoustic ballads, but despite the omnipresence of acoustic guitars on NEW, none are quite what you would call typical MCartneyesque
acoustic fare. Early Days is a kind of ballad, maybe, but this is about looking back to formative years, before fame, before the madness. Yes, its about love, but not romantic love.
You can imagine the old guy with a bit of a tear in his eye coming up with the lyrics for this one:

"Hair slicked back with Vaseline
Like the pictures on the wall of the local record shop
Hearing noises we where destined to remember
We willed the thrill to never stop..."

and he even manages to expand to reach out, with his guru advice to youngsters:

"May sweet memories of friends from the past always comes to you,
when you look for them
And your inspiration long may it last,
may it come to you time and time again".

Much has been made of the title track- its a return to form, its like Got to get you into my Life, yaddah yaddah. Maybe, and for these reasons, and others, this
could be among the weakest tracks on the album. Its not weak, though- its good. Its just that it almost sounds like a song he wrote 4 decades ago, or its the song
we always knew he would write one day. It is light lyrically, but the classic chord progression (triads with bass descending) saves it, as does the lovely instrumentation.
Its jaunty and nice but not really representative of the quality which runs throughout the album as a whole.

Paul, with Giles Martin at the desk, comes up with a cool almost triphop, stream of consciousness gem in Appreciate, one of my personal favourites on this album.
This one really benefits from a high volume treatment- give it a blast! Its free, its floaty, its lovely melody insinuating itself within a very 21st century backing track.
Its hard not to hear his ex Heather featuring in this one, although there is no bitterness biting here- just reflection and dare I say it, a bit of introspection.
A superb song, and a top-notch performance.

For me, Everybody out There is easily the worst track on the album. It sounds like its been created in a test-tube to be performed in vast stadiums. The theme is
decent and worthy enough- "do some good before you say goodbye"- but, though there is a certain conviction at work here, its just a bit banal. While the four producers
on NEW have done a great job in making a fading voice sound good, Paul''s voice- one a rocking force of nature, just sounds thin and painfully overstretched. Not like, sorry.

Hosanna's opening backward guitar figures invite us to join something a bit psychedelic, but this song in fact offers something different. Is Hosanna a woman, or a prayer?
Or is there something deeper going on here? Is Hosanna, in fact, Paul's entreaty to his own inspiration, his Muse, like Paul Simon did so long ago with Cecilia? Certainly, the
old biblical meaning hints at something like 'saviour', so maybe. The track itself is dreamy and features some great liquid bass playing by our man. While it is tempting for some
to describe this as somehow boring, the elements within it mean it is anything but. A fine song, and a real grower.

I can't stop myself from playing I can Bet- over and over! This is infectious, poppy Paul, melodic fun Paul. This is Wings revisited. Where are you, Denny?
Even the bit where Paul goes "oh no..." sounds just so seventies. If he's being at all self-conscious about these littlehers touches, it never shows as the conviction is so total. Also, killer middle eight, dynamics and even a great synth solo Linda could have played! Love love love this. Play loud.

Looking at Her is melodic and synthy in a nice though slightly contrived way: nice enough but a wee bit pasted on maybe? The guitars are good and Paul's voice is effective here in a treated, almost 'bass-off' Beatley way. Don't get me wrong, I like the track, just maybe not as much as some of the others. Sorry!

Road, on the other hand, is a real favourite. Deep, dark and murky, a swampy recording full of existential musings. The voice sounds good here too, and I particularly love the vocal/ instrumental climaxes here. Brilliant, and just too good for Electric Arguments, an album it seems to fit the best.

Turned out is another track where pure conviction and strength of performance outweigh any reservations I may have with regard to the song's merits as a song. Very Wingsy...mmm yeah....and this has a great middle eight. bridge of the kind at which this man is the master... looking back it didn't hurt me...that bit. I like, a lot.

If Seasick Steve was a 71 year-old dude from the northwest of England he may well sound like Paul does on Get me out of here. Or of Rick Rubin was suddenly wheeled in to produce. I noticed what sounds like fingers tapping away at an acoustic guitar here- like on Dear Boy over 40 years earlier. Oh well, there ain't nothing new, is there?


The hidden track begins like a classic Macca piano crooner but there is a lot else going on here. Paul sounds scared and old but in love. And hey, what's wrong with that?
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: MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby Mattal1958 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 4:46 pm

nice review. Can't argue with much of it at all.

There are times listening to this album where I wish his voice were more Prime Paul (particularly the title track, and "Early Days"), but then, the trade off would be Prime Paul would not yet have encountered and absorbed the life and musical experiences (including BEATLES ANTHOLOGY, the death of Linda, the death of George, the Heather disaster, and other things I'm sure were important to him that we may have absolutely no clue about) to come up with the music he has made on this album.

I still think it's among the best half dozen albums he's made as a solo artist. And I've been listening to it a LOT since release. Usually, by this point, even with Paul (or other artists I love), I'm tired of the album already. An example: Elton's THE DIVING BOARD came out around the same time as NEW. I LOVED it. I STILL LOVE IT.
But, I can't listen to it now. I've overplayed it, and the sameness of the arrangements-- which I was very happy about, btw...getting back to a basic piano, bass, drums sound-- don't help in that regard.

The variety of sounds, styles and textures on NEW, however, make this album something special. And, the great thing is, the songs I loved right off the bat, I still pretty much love, yet the ones I did NOT like ("Hosanna," "New" and "Road") I now find very satisfying, and perhaps richer than some of the other songs-- particularly "Hosanna."

Anyway, again, nice review garrystanton!
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' BY garrystanton

Postby efghijiloveyou » Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:19 pm

Nice, thoughtful review Garry. I think you and I see mostly eye to eye on this, however I do have a wee quibble to hash out. Early in your review you said there hasn't been much to love about Paul's music lately. I couldn't disagree more, in fact I think there's more to love about Paul's music from the last ten years than any other point since the eighties. Oh well, to each his own, eh? Thanks for taking the time to give us your thoughts!
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Re: MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby garrystanton » Wed Jan 01, 2014 5:36 pm

efghi- I think, I was trying to articulate, in a perhaps unclear way, that the rocking Paul, so present on NEW, has been missing for a while, with a few exceptions.
To me, there's a sense of freedom, of spontaneity, of balls, of musical invention on NEW which has been absent, or not as well realised, since Flaming Pie. And I stand by this assertion...!
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: MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby mr h atom » Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:27 pm

first of all... great review...love it !! :salute

'New' certainly would seem, on the surface, to have more...cajones...but only if one were to indicate that that would be in regard to it being more raucous and spirited in a old-fashioned R&R kinda way...and that 'new' somehow fits that form more fully than most his recent works...i for one, thinks thats a bit askew

if anything, this album is a bit more 'pop'ish than 'rock' ish...and the ballsier tracks, just like on most of his recent works, are the more self-introspective ones...

he didn't get the (overused, wrongful) mantle of being only a maker of silly love songs (backindaday) because his albums rocked all the time (though he could easily and did often)...and such illusions should only serve one to be reflective of a grander ideal that all of his solo work since leaving the beatles had been marked by albums quite often full of a wide variety of sound/mood/show....

which, imho, has only grown more mature as time has gone by
lift up your head...and remember what your life is !
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Re: MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby Mattal1958 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:08 pm

yuse guys overwhelm me with your opinions, perceptions, and knowledge of Pauly. I'm glad I'm not the only McCartney nut out there who loves this guy's music-- from "I Saw Her Standing There" to "Struggle"-- and feels he knows it up and down, inside and out, yet still can not only listen to it (well, most of it) over and over again, but find things in it, even years (decades!) later that I never quite heard the first thousand times around, or REALLY LISTENED to before.

Most of you are not Paul AK's either. I'm a huge defender of McCartney to those who diss him, but I'm the first to admit there is stuff (mostly in his solo catalogue) that is, IMHO, sub-par for what we've come to expect of McCartney. Imagine, though, having to live up to that all the time? Like a Dylan, or a...I'm running out of comparable, still living rock and roll legends...maybe Townshend, or Jagger/Richards...but even then that's a dropoff.

The thing Is, I think McCartney is one complex fellow. I think he works hard at being likeable, at being accessible, at not taking himself too seriously, at being a "regular" guy, at not caring about critics...yet, I think this is a well constructed façade. I think he's LESS even keeled than what he allows us to see. I think there is a private part of him that, at times, can't STAND the intrusion on his personal life. I think he DOES take himself seriously. I think the "regular guy" thing is what he would LIKE to be, but even he knows (and has admitted) he's not just a "regular guy." He's bleeping Paul bleeping McCartney! I think criticism does sting, and I think he holds grudges (like any human being), and tries to "show 'em" next time out.

There is an interview I was watching on YOUTUBE the other day, from a British TV show, hosted by some young lady who was respectful and reverent of Paul, but really, was at times kind of vacuous, and not really listening to him as she was preparing to ask him the next question. Two things impressed me, or should I say, made me take notice. The interview took place in a car, then they got out at Regents Park and walked around, so London served as kind of a moving backdrop during the interview. His casual asides about things in London revealed to me that it wasn't just John who was a pretty smart guy. Paul was commenting on historical aspects of the city-- not in a "see how smart I am?" kind of way, but more conversational-- that I found fascinating, and educational. Like a freaking teacher or professor! I'd never really heard him in this way before.
The other thing was, when asked what the title of his new album was, the young lass was obviously NOT paying attention, because Paul said, quite intentionally, "the album's called PEEPS OF PICE." This went right over the young lady's head, and she asked the next question, and then the next. You could almost sense Paul rolling his eyes, and giving the slightest bit of a smirk. Not in condescension, but more in "nobody really LISTENS to a Beatle, do they?" In fact, I think that's true of all of them. Most of the folks who had access to them did NOT really listen to them, or ask intelligent questions. Very few interviews with McCartney over the years (non-print ones, I'm referring to) have had any substance to them. I remember Bob Costas on LATER WITH BOB COSTAS doing a very good interview with him, in the early/mid 90's...and I remember that because it sticks out as one of the few intelligent interviews I've ever HEARD or SEEN done with him.

I'm just so glad he's still around, and still making REAL MUSIC. He could be doing variations on RUN DEVIL RUN and KISSES ON THE BOTTOM every couple of years, but instead, or should I say, in addition to that, he gives us solid, original pop albums, some of which even push the envelope (ELECTRIC ARGUMENTS, NEW).

ALl the while trying to live up to the standards of "Yesterday," and "Hey Jude," and "Helter Skelter," and "Maybe I'm Amazed," etc.

But, I digress...back to THE WALKIND DEAD marathon...
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' BY garrystanton

Postby mr h atom » Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:38 pm

pretty spot on thinking there, matts ^:)^

i might, just for gits n shiggles, take the most minor of issues with "i think he works hard at...", " yet...well constructed facade." and, lastly "he's less even keeled than..."

hmmmm...personally don't think he works hard at that...i think that is him...but some of us expect him to be PAULMCFREAKINMCCARTNEY !!!!!

exactly like with HIS music...it is we, the 'fan', who brings a preconceived notion to the table that he clearly, more often does not WANT to live up to...he just wants to do his thaing...and hopes to god we all 'get it'...

and, yeah...that's kinda embarrasing when it doesn't happen...for anyone...in any profession...but most especially when all the frikkin lights are on just you !!

does he want to be liked ?? yeah !! who doesn't...

yet...he's not nor ever has been one of those snotty types who couldn't give a shite...he has always wanted, not so much to please...but to do good, solid work...to set out on a goal and accomplish it successfully...

and, exactly like everyone one of us, be somewhat acknowledged for it...not dissed for not being perfect, not reinventing the wheel...or not living up to our preconceptions of what constitues mccartney and/or mccartney music

we, none of us, would be quibbling over this nonsense if he were, say, a baker...and everyday, without fail, he had the best cookies in town...or, better yet...in any town...

and if he did...what is the harm in letting him know...yet, with this baker, like so many other artists, we often get judgemental when we walk in the door and there is a new set of cookies...or, heaven forbid...a cake or two !!

then alot of us are all squeeling and moaning that we don't have our cookies...

when faced with the constant grumblers that he must be (and has been) every day forever...from the peeps who dissed him as opposed to john...the peeps who say he broke up the beatles...the peeps who have him dead all these years...from the peeps who ragged on his records, even tho it was clear to anyone but a deaf man that his stuff was better than 'two vrigins' could ever hope to be...even when they ragged on linda...even when they ragged on wings...even when they ragged on how he did nothing but silly love songs...then ragged on that song...even when they ragged on every single moment of every single day...he's still there, taking he shots...making he music...smiling big...that doesn't make him fake or not even keeled...it makes him gun-shy and overprotective...he never knows where it's gonna come from..what some blithering idiot will say/do next

hell...we have a regular poster here who has put on a several year fusilage of how much better a songwriter he is than the guy whose name is up there at the top !!

and in drawing that overprotective cloak around him...in offering up that 'public' persona...if it might include the odd laugh along with the idiot interviewer who just dissed his stuff...and he sort of smiles, and chortles along...wherein he dissed his own stuff...like he did so often with ram...like he's doen once or twice with P2P...if it happens to include him doing or saying dorky things...that's not him as much as what he thinks will get people to shut up, listen to the music and leave him in peace...

because in the end...what he really wants is for us to listen to the music...not him
lift up your head...and remember what your life is !
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Re: MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby Mattal1958 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:20 am

good counterpoints and expanding the discussion, Mr. H.

The one thing I forgot to mention is, the man is pure music. I think a lot of musicians are like this-- Neil Young, Bob Dylan, even George The Silent One-- all of them have treasure troves of demos and unreleased songs, not to mention (at least in the case of Young and Dylan) all the RELEASED stuff.

Macca can't help himself. I think he'll be writing songs right up until his last breath. It is who he is. But not just writing songs-- CREATING songs...putting SOUND to those scribbles on paper and the acoustic demos. He's not satisfied with just writing a song, or an idea for a song. He needs to see what he can do with it in a studio. Whether it's with the best producers around at Abbey Road or some other fancy facility, or just him and his home equipment.

For THAT I am MOST grateful. You can always figure on a new SOMETHING from Paul every year or two (not necessarily studio pop albums, but something "new" or previously unheard, or experimental, etc).

That is something that used to drive me nuts with George (and Paul Simon). George might have written songs all the time, but he didn't feel obligated to record them properly and/or release them to those of us who loved his music.

In less than two years, we got KISSES ON THE BOTTOM, two new versions of "It's So Easy," an original kick-ass studio rocker with surviving Nirvana members, and NEW. This, from a man in his 70's (well, 69 when KOTB came out, but that's nitpicking). Most pop stars his age are putting out archival stuff (which Paul is kind of doing, too, with the re-mastered, expanded versions of his catalogue), or they are doing nothing, or they are dead.

Music pushes this guy. It's why, I think, he's so full of life and optimism-- even at 71.
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' BY garrystanton

Postby blmeanie » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:12 am

The best thing about this album is he will likely want to show the world how good it is LIVE!

Looking forward to his next tour.
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Re: MY REVIEW OF 'NEW' BY garrystanton

Postby chris » Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:37 pm

there are some fine comments on this thread...

garry s...ef is right...it was a very thoughtful review. very insightful as to how you see/hear things. I agree with nearly every word.

and the distinguished mr h...I think (because how could I possibly know?) that paul has tried to make hit songs, that is, pander to what might be expected of him, in order to get a hit song played on the radio. but it's been since the mid 80's since I suspect he's had that frame of mind. and now that he is (again, all presumed my moi) making music either for the love of making it...or...just making music he wants to make...we're getting a much more real, earthy, genuine product that is just a joy to hear.

and finally, matts...I agree that paul wants to be liked. at least he comes off that way. but he doesn't do it in a way that comes off as artificial. maybe that is part of his charm. a gazzillionaire doesn't have to care...shouldn't need to...yet I think he does. but what do I know? we'll maybe never know of there is a difference between "the camera is on" paul and just paul. but as long as he continues making music as well made as he has been for the last two decades or so...i'm not sure if I care.
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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