I realized today that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania, which means that Paul McCartney has been blasting out hit pop songs for five decades, somehow managing to stay at least somewhat relevant without completely conforming to the latest fads in music.
On his latest release, “New,” you will not hear him delving into EDM or dropping the bass (which is a shame, because he’s probably one of a handful of artists who could properly incorporate dubstep into pop music).
I was not in love with the album the first time I listened to it. But then I listened to it again. And again. And I realized that complete innovation is not needed with Macca’s music.
Kanye West may consider himself a god this year, but that title truly belongs to McCartney. The entire album, like most of the Beatles’ later albums, is varied and interesting.
Giles Martin, son of George Martin, was the executive producer on this album.
Looking further, we see that McCartney worked with a number of younger producers. Noticing this, I realized that my earlier statement about complete innovation would have to be clarified a bit. Remember how the Beatles were constantly messing around with all different types of music? “Helter Skelter,” “Birthday,” “Rocky Racoon,” “Julia” and “Revolution 9” were all completely different, yet they were all recognizable Beatles songs. Here, his work with younger producers gives the album a wonderful varied track list.
The same goes for “New.” The album opener, “Save Us,” sounds like a track from David Bowie’s latest album released earlier this year. “Alligator” is a dark, synthesized folk song that sounds right off of a Wings album. “Queenie Eye” has Paul bringing out the good old Mellotron (a tape-based forerunner to the modern synthesizer) again for a catchy, almost sentimental sounding number. The standout track on this album is “Appreciate,” a trip-hop influenced number that could be the next James Bond theme song.
Paul McCartney is not the same artist that he was 50 years ago, but he is still one of the best out there. “New” shows the work of an artist who never stopped growing, experimenting or imagining where he could take his music. The album makes me confident that he still has quite a few more hit songs left in him.