Sure, last year’s set of pre-rock pop standards (Kisses on the Bottom) was charming. But at 71, Paul McCartney has thankfully returned to the music of eternal youth. Recorded with a round robin of top-flight producers, including retro-modernist Mark Ronson, U.K. pop supersizer Paul Epworth and Giles (son of George) Martin, New feels energized and full of joyous rock & roll invention. More than a sentimental journey, it’s an album that wants to be part of the 21st-century pop dialogue.
The most Beatles-ish track is the Martin-produced “On My Way to Work,” whose daydream-y commuter narrative recalls “A Day in the Life”; the boldest is “Queenie Eye,” a glam-rockish stadium singalong. But the head turner is “Early Days,” a wistful, mostly acoustic memoir-reverie echoing George Harrison‘s “All Those Years Ago,” albeit with some genteel bitchiness, presumably about Paul’s Fab Four past: “Everybody seems to have their own opinions/Of who did this and who did that,” he sings, “but as for me, I don’t see how they can remember/When they weren’t where it was at.”
The Ronson collaborations are the best moments, splitting the difference between then and now: the Sgt. Pepper-y “New” and “Alligator,” which shuffles White Album guitar grit with stoner synth-pop ambience. “I need a place where I can rest my weary bones and have a conversation not too deep,” McCartney sings in the latter, which sounds par for the course. But, hell, if it’s this catchy, we’re in.
Kanye West Says Jonah Hill in '21 Jump Street' 'Made Me Like Jewish People Again'
- 'Thank You Jonah Hill'