SINGLE REVIEW: Paul McCartney – “New”


Artist: Paul McCartney
Song: “New”
Album: New
Genre: Rock n’ Roll

Paul McCartney is 71 years old and he is writing better music than most top 40 artists in their respective prime. “New,” the fresh single released by Sir Paul yesterday, is an intriguing piece of timeless music written to eliminate any age gap for listeners. “New” is the type of track that shows you why Paul McCartney is the greatest songwriter in the contemporary era of music.

Even when entering the fifth decade of his legacy, he is composing catchier hooks than any of the award-winners at last week’s VMAs. I am 23 years old and “New” is most likely the best song Paul has released in my lifetime. Not to take anything away from the experimental Electric Arguments (The Fireman), or the smooth listening of Kisses on the Bottom, “New” just has a spark to it. It’s the type of song that grabs you, it makes you want to hit repeat over and over. It has the addictive effect of a The Beatles release.

“New” mirrors a Rubber Soul area of McCartney writing, with a collection of layered melodies providing to be a more than sufficient backbone for the track. It is as though McCartney is channeling the energy and essence of an entire generation of rock and roll with “New.” When you are the most successful songwriter of the past 50 years, you don’t write because you have to, you write because you want to. This reflects in the new track –the song shows an ambition fans young and old can respect. It appears Paul is striving to make the world fall in love with him all over again. I know it’s working for me, I haven’t turned his discography off since spinning “New” for the first time. It appears Paul McCartney has now shot up to the top of albums to look out for in fall 2013.

Rating: 9/10

Written by: Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt)

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  • dackmont

    Amen! Since Flaming Pie in 1997, it seems like he’s just kept getting better. His body of work in the last 20-ish years is pretty impressive: “Off The Ground” (’93) and “Flaming Pie” are great singles and the high points of their respective, eponymous albums (“Calico Skies” is essential too, from the latter). Driving Rain was the real comeback, with no humongous standout but 11 really good, consistent songs (the first four, “Tiny Bubble”, “Magic”, etc.). That album featured his best lyrics in years — autobiographical, economical, polished, emotionally resonant — that set the standard for all of subsequent records. Chaos and Creation… was full of great melodies and had several new classics: “Fine Line”, “Friends To Go”, “Too Much Rain”, “A Certain Softness”, “Anyway”, “This Never Happened To Me Before”, and especially “English Tea”. Memory Almost Full was also excellent, adding a spark of energy that’s obviously continuing with “New”. “Ever Present Past”, “See Your Sunshine”, “Vintage Clothes”, Why So Blue” and especially “Mr. Bellamy”, a classic character song — all great tunes from that one. And I agree that Electric Arguments is outstanding, delightfully psychedelic; producer Youth might be Paul’s second-best collaborator, ever. It’s so cool seeing Macca peaking, again, at this point in his career. He’s phenomenal, a river of great vibes. May he rock for decades more.

    P.S. Good Evening New York City is, imo, the best live album from this period — he’s still playing two-and-a-half hour shows.

  • John Tess

    I’m a huge Macca fan and am twice as old as Matthew, the author of this piece. But I see nothing exceptional at all in this single. It’s OK in the pantheon of Paul songs, but not even catchy, which is his stock in trade. Paul has written countless superior songs in the 23 years of Matt’s lifetime. How about Jenny Wren, That Was Me, Little Willow and even fluff like Flaming Pie or Ever Present Past? Or especially Beautiful Night?

    In addition, comparing this rather trite song to anything of Paul’s Rubber Soul or Revolver period is utterly cringe-worthy. A song like “For No One” is Beethoven and “New” is Partridge Family.

  • Maccafan

    First off there’s absolutely nothing fluffy about the song Flaming Pie!
    I like the new song, I just don’t think it’s strong enough to be the lead off single. For some very strange reason McCartney seems to have a problem with picking the first single. I bet there are much better choices.
    Looking forward to the new album.

  • Nick_A

    John Tess, Flaming Pie wasn’t fluff (I think you are confusing it with
    another song) and you also have your facts wrong on “Beautiful Night”,
    it was written over 23 years ago, it’s an old McCartney composition put
    on the album “Flaming pie” more than 10 years *after* it was written.
    Also, I really can’t *stand* “That was me”. I think that’s probably the worst piece of music,purely from a melody point of view, that Paul has ever written. In that respect, “New” beats it infinitely.

    I do agree with your main point though, that Paul has written a lot of better tunes in the last 23 years.
    In addition to Jenny Wren, Little Willow and Ever Present Past that you mentioned, a lot of stuff from Off The Ground is way higher quality than “New”. First off, “Mistress and maid” is amazing, “Come on people” a
    timeless tune, the same is “The Lovers That Never Were”. Even the
    instrumental “Heather” from the Driving Rain era is melodically
    fantastic. And I must admit, I don’t understand why Matt mentions the
    ‘smoothness of kisses on the bottom” here, I mean…a covers album.
    But I do like his positive attitude.

    Regarding “New”, while pretty damn far from the best Paul has written in 23 years, It’s impressive to crank out stuff like this at any age, but at 71 I find it insanely cool. Paul’s obvious homage to Beach Boys harmonies on this track reminds me a little of Ram, which can only be a good thing!