Song of the Day #1,949: ‘New’ – Paul McCartney

mccartney_newThe past few weeks I’ve been buying new album releases like a madman. Artists (and studios) have dropped records left and right, presumably with the holiday season in mind.

I’ve looked at the scheduled releases for the rest of the year, though, and it appears that I’m done for 2013. So it’s time for me to take stock of the albums I’ve picked up this year.

It takes me awhile to learn an album — to know if it will fade quickly or grow on me slowly. Some albums blow me away right out of the gate, but more often I need a few weeks and quite a few listens to know how I really feel.

For that reason, I’m not quite ready to rank all 23 albums I’ve heard in 2013, especially those I’ve had for just a week or two. But I am ready to write down a few thoughts about the ones I haven’t yet featured on the blog.

That’s what I’ll do over the next couple of weeks — document my first impressions of ten new albums. Following that, I’ll spend five weeks counting down my favorite 25 songs of 2013.

And believe it or not, that will take us right up to the New Year.

Now on to the music…

Paul McCartney has released 24 albums, both solo and with Wings, since The Beatles broke up. I’ve never owned one of them until this month.

Much of McCartney’s solo career has been viewed negatively, through the lens of his incomparable work with The Beatles. But he has managed to soldier on as the legend he is, on the strength of both his Beatles legacy and a consistent, if not spectacular, solo discography.

He’s 71 now, and has every excuse to sit back and enjoy his well-earned spot on the rock-n-roll Mount Rushmore. Which is what makes his latest album, New, so fascinating.

Rather than resting on his laurels, McCartney has teamed up with a quartet of hot-shot producers to deliver a bright, modern, exhilarating and sometimes moving album. Sonically, this thing is airtight, mashing up production styles and musical genres but still feeling like a single piece.

As I admitted, I’m woefully unaware of most of McCartney’s solo material, but I believe the many reviews that call the songwriting here among his best since The Beatles. Some tracks nod back to those days, either musically or lyrically, and the effect is touching.

(For example, the “all my life” in today’s SOTD, the album’s title song, calls back to Paul’s “all your life” in ‘Blackbird’ — at least to my ear — and the verses owe something to ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’).

McCartney doesn’t seem to be slowing down, so New probably won’t be his final album. But if it is, it’s a fitting swan song.

[Verse 1]
Don’t look at me
It’s way too soon to see
What’s gonna be
Don’t look at me

All my life
I never knew
What I could be, what I could do
Then we were new

[Verse 2]
You came along
And made my life a song
One lucky day
You came along

Just in time
Well I was searching for a rock
You came along
Then we were new

We can do what we want
We can live as we choose
You see there’s no guarantee
We got nothing to lose

[Verse 3]
Don’t look at me
I can’t deny the truth
It’s plain to see
Don’t look at me

All my life
I never knew
What I could be, what I could do
Then we were new


[Verse 1]

Then we were new
Now we are new

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,949: ‘New’ – Paul McCartney

  1. Dana says:

    Daniel immediately gravitated to this song, and so I have heard it a number of times.

    I can’t say I ,love it (sorry Daniel!), though it has grown on me with each listen. Mostly, though, I hear McCartney trying to sound like Michael Buble, though I also hear a bit of the George Harrison sound in there.

    By the way, the other day I heard Lennon doing an acoustic version of “Across the Universe” on The Coffee House. As I marveled at his genius, the beauty of the music, the depths of the lyrics, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of work he would have been putting out if he were still with us.

  2. Amy says:

    Daniel has been raving about this song since he came out of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Apparently it makes quite an impression when accompanying the opening images and closing credits of that film -maybe McCartney will be performing at this year’s Oscars?

    The first time Daniel played it for me, I was convinced it was an old song, as it does sound immediately familiar (in a good way). It’s great to hear that the whole album is getting good reviews. I love that McCartney wants to keep writing and performing new material.

  3. Clay says:

    Funny, I don’t remember this song in Meatballs, but I can definitely see its opening-credits appeal. I think it’s a great tune.

  4. pegclifton says:

    I’m with Daniel–like this a lot 🙂 Nice to see and hear him doing this at 71 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    Did you see the new one? I don’t see it on your list 🙂

  6. Amy says:

    When we were at the Tate Modern, Maddie and Daniel saw this piece that appears on Paul’s album cover (or one very similar); in fact, Daniel took a photo and made it his profile pic. Makes me want to investigate the symbolism 🙂

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