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New - Track-by-track thoughts

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Last post 25/11/2013

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      Hi all,

      I'm just about to start my second listen of the New CD, and I thought I might post my thoughts on each track as I hear them to start off a track-by-track discussion. )

      Cheers,
      Andrew.

        Track 1 - Save Us

        I loved this live, and the studio recording doesn't disappoint in terms of its jaunty beat and tidy production by Paul Epworth. If I had to find fault, I'd say that maybe I expected the electric guitar sound to be a little bit more "driving" and less "fizzy", and the vocal to be belted out a little more aggressively. If there's a live album from the "Out There" tour, I may well end up preferring the live version.

          Track 2 - Alligator

          This track is fantastic! It manages to sound both "classic McCartney" and completely New at the same time. It probably wouldn't sound out of place on "Memory Almost Full", where it would be one of the best tracks. The bits with synth remind me of "McCartney II" and when the guitars come in towards the end, they've got a kind of "late Wings" sound to them.

            Track 3 - On My Way To Work

            For me, this is my least favourite track on the album. The lyrics (especially the first verse) aren't as unusual and interesting as some of the others on this record. After the second verse, there's another bit of "late Wings" type guitar riff - seemingly played in unison on two guitars (well, I think they're guitars), which comes back a couple of times later on. In between, it's mostly acoustic guitar strums and drums. Not keen on the acoustic guitar fret buzz at the beginning of the track - sounds like it needs a set-up! All of Giles Martin's other tracks are much better!

            If one of the "bonus tracks" (which I haven't heard) isn't better than this, I'll eat my hat.

              Track 4 - Queenie Eye

              Well, you've all heard this anyway, but - for me - it is by definitely the best track on the album. I love the driving beat (which is refreshing for McCartney), I love the interesting lyrics, and I love all the cool stuff that happens from the middle bit onwards. I would rate this as one of Paul's best solo singles. Kudos to Paul Epworth.

                Track 5 - Early Days

                Produced by Ethan Johns. Delicate acoustic guitar work. A bit folksy. Reminds me of some of Tom Petty's acoustic stuff - and wouldn't sound out of place on his album "Wildflowers" (apart from the vocal, obviously!). Vaguely reminds me of "Junk"from "McCartney" in terms of feel and sentiment. Lyrically, some cynics may say that Paul is continuing his alleged Beatles "revisionism" with some of the lyrics towards the end . Nice album track.

                  Track 6 - New

                  Produced by Mark Ronson. Well, what can I possibly say about this song that you don't know already - I'm sure you've already heard the studio version and probably two or three live versions! In the context of the album, it certainly holds its own and stands out as one of the best tracks.

                    Track 7 - Appreciate

                    Produced by Giles Martin. Just wow! Going by the title, I was slightly nervous of this one. I thought it might be this album's answer to "gratitude", which I find a bit cringe-worthy, if I'm honest - and I am. ) Actually, I wonder whether Dhani Harrison (George's son) has heard this, because it would not be out of place on one of his albums (with his band thenewno2, I mean). This song is very "now" and succeeds in being such in way that, say, "Rough Ride" didn't quite convincingly manage at the time. Interesting backwards tape loops, vocal effects and "nasty" (in a good way) drums in certain passages. If you're not familiar with thenewno2, another way of thinking about it is that it's like a really strong Fireman song, the difference being that more time and effort has been put into honing it and producing it right. (That's not a dig at the Fireman, which I love - but those records are more spontaneous).

                      Track 8 - Everybody Out There

                      Produced by Giles Martin. If you've heard the live version of this track, then there's not much that will surprise you about the record, except a few sonic touches like a bit of morse code at the end. I wonder what it says? Does anybody on here know morse code? Maybe we can place bets on what it is? Probably "Hey, Everybody Out There", or some part of that. Or maybe "Paul is alive"? Boy is he ever if this album is anything to go by! Having said that, this is probably one of my least favourite tracks on the album. It wouldn't sound out of place on "Off The Ground", where it would be one of the best tracks (but that's not saying much). Oh, and I could live without the "but for the grace of God" bit, but people have already commented on that. Overall, it's a tidy production and the acoustic guitar riff at the beginning feels novel for McCartney.

                        Track 9 - Hosanna

                        Produced by Ethan Johns. Wow again! The first time I heard this song it gave me goosebumps and the ending made me shiver. That's how good it is. It's all built around a simple acoustic guitar, but there's really interesting stuff going on with tape loops and such. This track wouldn't be out of place on Chaos and Creation in the Backyard, but it would be the best track on that album. Absolutely love it!

                          Track 10 - I Can Bet

                          Produced by Giles Martin. This is McCartney at his poppy best. It's like the best Wings single that never was. It has a fantastic swagger to it that is epitomized by the line "What I'm gonna do next, I'll leave entirely to your imagination". There's a guitar riff in there somewhere that reminds me of something on "Memory Almost Full" and a short synth solo that is pure Wings. But then there are some aspects of the production that place it firmly in the present. The trippy ending is cool.

                            Track 11 - Looking At Her

                            Produced by Giles Martin. This one sounds like a long lost classic from an alternate universe "McCartney II". On that album, it would be the fifth best track (in my opinion) after the three singles and "One of These Days". Some nice noodly guitar in addition to the McCartney II style synths. I love how it gets all bombastic for the "I'm losing my mind" bit.

                              Track 12 - Road

                              Produced by Paul Epworth.

                              This is different in that I can't think of another McCartney song that it really sounds like. Definitely "New"! I guess there are hints of McCartney II, but less so than the previous track. Bits of it remind me a bit of The Cure. Really interesting bass lines towards the end (the first I've really noticed - I'll have to have another listen to the album and focus on the bass next).

                                Track 13 (hidden) - Scared

                                Produced by ? (the booklet doesn't say).

                                Just piano and Paul's slightly strained voice for most of the song. Feels quite intimate. It's hard to have an opinion about this one. I think if it wasn't a "hidden" track, I'd feel that the production wasn't quite up to scratch compared to the rest of the album. I have the CD on repeat, so the contrast as "Save Us" comes back on now is stark. Having said that, I do like it. I think it's probably a grower.

                                  Overall, this is certainly one of Paul's stronger albums, but it's too soon for me to say where I think it ranks. I wouldn't say it's as good as "Band On The Run", but there are few other solo albums that are in the same league, so it might even end up being the new Number 2 not to be confused with thenewno2, which I mentioned above! ;)

                                  I hope that someone found some of the above interesting! )

                                    Thanks, it was interesting hearing your thoughts!

                                      Save Us, Queenie Eye, Road and Looking At Her are my 4 absolute favourite with Road maybe being the best, I am stunned with Road, it is one of the best songs I have heard from Paul.

                                        Play along if you like, songs from New and what other Macca album they would sound at home on:

                                        Save Us - Back To The Egg, but much fresher yolks

                                        Alligator - vocals and production VERY reminiscent of Tug Of War with a little "She's Given Up Talking"

                                        On My Way to Work - Flaming Pie maybe due to its mid tempo reflectiveness

                                        Queenie Eye - this one has slight Off The Ground atmospherics

                                        Early Days - reminds me of the organic acoustic charm of Flaming Pie and the guitar reminds me of George's VH1 performance of All Things Must Pass

                                        New - the vocal melody has the buoyancy Got To Get You Into My Life and other flourishes would not have it out of place on Revolver

                                        Appreciate - I immediately thought of "Safeway Cart" Neil Young and Crazy Horse Sleeps With Angels the same hypnotic melody, but would fit the best of Driving Rain

                                        Everybody Out There - Off The Ground or Flaming Pie

                                        Hosanna - McCartney 2

                                        I Can Bet - very Tug of War maybe Pipes Of Peace

                                        Looking At Her - Press To Play or McCartney 2

                                        Road - RAM, Chaos and Creation In The Backyard, Fireman

                                          Andrewhh:Hi all,

                                          I'm just about to start my second listen of the New CD, and I thought I might post my thoughts on each track as I hear them to start off a track-by-track discussion.

                                          Cheers,
                                          Andrew.

                                          Andrew,
                                          Thanks for an absolute great post. You should be a music critic. You would be a breath of fresh air...someone who actually listens to all the songs and is objective.

                                          You have got me really excited about this album. If "Everybody Out There" is one of the weakest tracks, then this is a very good CD.

                                          PS. I actually like "Off the Ground". Granted the production could have been better but there are several really good songs in my opinion. To each his own

                                            Yes, I did find your review interesting, since I've not heard any of these, really, and your well thought-out opinions added to the mystery of wondering what these sound like and are about.

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