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Report Card: Paul McCartney’s ‘New’

Staff Writer
Austin 360

By Michael Corcoran

Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 15, 2013

Paul McCartney’s first album of new material in seven years sounds good and is surprisingly cohesive considering he used four different high-powered producers. It’s a straightforward pop album without much ornamentation or desperate touches to stay current. But the material, which focuses mainly on the new happiness his latest marriage has brought him, just doesn’t stand out. “Save Us” and “Queenie Eye” are probably the only tracks that would’ve made it on to “Band On the Run”- as padding. And writing a song about scuffling around with John Lennon before the Beatles (“Early Days”) is cheating, like using a tee in the fairway.

But this is not bad for a 71-year-old who’s been a king for five decades. Actually, “New” is pretty amazing for a 71-year-old. McCartney taps into melody reserves and sings with force and clarity. And the soundscapes elevate. But I can’t imagine any of these songs staying in the live set after Sir Paul ends his tireless promotion of the LP. When you come down to it, he’s got an amazing amount of talent, but not much left to say.

Grade point average: 3.17

Save Us” A

“Alligator” C

“On My Way to Work” C+

Queenie Eye” A

“Early Days” B

“New” B

“Appreciate” B+

“Everybody Out There” B+

“Hosanna” C+

“I Can Bet” B

“Looking at Her” B+

“Road” B+