Paul McCartney Sounds Rejuvenated With ‘New’
The always interesting and prolific Beatle records alone in the studio in this Picture of the Week. It’s an unfamiliar sight. It feels natural to imagine John, George, and Ringo playing alongside him, but as his band-mates fade out of focus, Paul continues to play. McCartney remains busy, even at age 71, and his latest release (aptly titled “New”) is his most adventurous in years.
Paul McCartney has done it all. In a musical career that officially began in the early 60s, he certainly hasn’t left any stone unturned, so no one could really blame him for taking it easy in his latter years. As it turns out, Paul has no intention of doing so; he’s continued touring and releasing records.
OK, fine. Plenty of old rock stars stay active, but who ever gives their studio work a second thought; it’s just another excuse to tour, right? Again, McCartney dismisses common practice. With “New,” he’s released an album that continues to push his legacy into the 21st century, and he’s still making music that’s relevant.
The LP came together over the course of the year, with production help from Giles Martin (son of the “fifth Beatle,” Sir George) and Mark Ronson, to name a few. Presumably, the producers helped push the music into a very modern place, that much is clear from the first fuzzy guitar riff on “Save Us,” which sounds like something The Killers wrote. Contemporary drum sounds add backbone to the work and keep things moving throughout.
McCartney gets a little uncharacteristically sentimental at times, as well. On “Early Days,” he strums an acoustic guitar and reminisces. “They can’t take it from me, if they tried,” he sings, “I lived through those early days.” Paul doesn’t often address the complexities of his relationship with fellow Beatles (particularly Lennon), but it seems as though he’s singing of a time when things were pure among the band, before Beatlemania arrived and his life was placed under the media’s microscope. Album closer “Get Me Out Of Here,” also recalls a different time, and sounds like it could have been an Abbey Road b-side.
With the boundaries pushed by “New”, it’s perplexing why the aforementioned “old” rock stars don’t genuinely attempt to create compelling music or embrace modernity as McCartney has. I won’t mention any names, but it seems that many release music to spur a tour, turn a profit, or give fans songs that resemble their classics. In reality, creating a fresh take is so much more enjoyable. Take note, old rock star fogies, Paul McCartney is making good music at 71. Something tells me that he’ll still be strumming a guitar in the studio for years to come, even after all the lights turn off.
Article by Nicolas White