New - Paul McCartney
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77

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.3

Universal acclaim- based on 85 Ratings

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  • Summary: The first release of new solo material in six years from the former Beatle includes production from Paul Epworth, Ethan Johns, Giles Martin (son of Beatles producer George Martin), and Marc Ronson.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Oct 10, 2013
    100
    This album proves his talent is timeless.
  2. Oct 15, 2013
    85
    Now 71, Paul has delivered his tightest album in years, confirming that the streak of goodness that began with Chaos and Creation in the Backyard wasn’t a fluke.
  3. Nov 25, 2013
    80
    What could have been a confused, trying-to-be-hip mish-mash is instead a re-playable collection of extremely strong songs, Paul's most interesting, varied and soul-baring in years. [Dec 2013, p.84]
  4. Oct 9, 2013
    70
    This range of styles on New could have been distracting if not for the material’s solid foundations, spontaneous energy, and frequent naked emotions.
  5. Nov 19, 2013
    70
    Even if it’s not McCartney’s most engaging record outright, New is a breath of fresh air for what could’ve been a frustrating sigh.
  6. Oct 15, 2013
    70
    New is no Abbey Road, but it is a remarkable album from the 71-year-old version of the man who has brought us decades of great rock ‘n’ roll songs.
  7. Oct 16, 2013
    50
    While the brave-faced, sunny music that defines the album's back half may be as contrived as his jolly public persona, it's the touches of humanizing anxiety that make New significant, revealing active signs of creative life.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 2 out of 22
  1. Jan 27, 2014
    10
    I wonder how long it will take others to come to the conclusion I've come to. His best solo work to date, these songs can stand alongside hisI wonder how long it will take others to come to the conclusion I've come to. His best solo work to date, these songs can stand alongside his Beatles work. A lot of his solo stuff comes across like just fluff, like he was just enjoying himself in the studio, just jerkin' it, not really having any balls or making a commitment,so much of it is catchy, but empty and forgettable. Some other works like Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and Tug of War were very self-consciously created as self-important, grandiose Beatlesque statements as if to say "Now I'll show those critics!" But they're stilted, C and C is terminally restrained and sounds like McCartney taking his medicine. Tug of War sounds like all over-produced genre exercises. This is the first piece of work he's done that combines the exuberance, the commitment, and some balls, plus inspiration. Every song sounds perfect, full-bodied, 3-dimensional and organic, but spontaneous. It may take a while for people to catch on, but it's a full-blown masterpiece. Expand
  2. Oct 15, 2013
    10
    I think he did exactly what he meant to: he unpretentiously created a "new" album using "new" techniques. Some of the production, hookI think he did exactly what he meant to: he unpretentiously created a "new" album using "new" techniques. Some of the production, hook patterns and everything else sounds generic, but with Paul's unique style of spelling out his moods and feelings. Overall a great album. Expand
  3. Oct 18, 2013
    9
    This is a FUN McCartney album like the ones he used to make. It's working title could have been McCartney III as it reminds me of it with itsThis is a FUN McCartney album like the ones he used to make. It's working title could have been McCartney III as it reminds me of it with its electronic bits. McCartney has finally blended his finely crafted ballads and pop songs with Fireman-styled modern music, giving us a varied and interesting album. I rate it as good as Chaos in the Backyard but more fun like Band on the Run. Only a couple of duds here.
    love his signature Casino lead guitar work and simple but effective drumming here. not crazy about the electronic sound effects ending many of the songs.
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  4. Oct 16, 2013
    9
    A modern classic from a silver-age hero, McCartney completely redefines what a "latter-day album" is with NEW. The album starts off with theA modern classic from a silver-age hero, McCartney completely redefines what a "latter-day album" is with NEW. The album starts off with the driving alt-rock of "Save Us" and continues to explore numerous styles throughout, both old and new. From the stoner rock trudge of "Alligator" and the Arcade Fire meets Coldplay singalong "Everybody Out There" to the reflective "Early Days," Sir Paul does it all. Yet, somehow the album still fits together unbelievably well as a whole. NEW is one of Paul's hardest rocking (albeit in a modern way) efforts in years, yet the record also contains some of his strongest ballads in a long time. The aforementioned "Early Days" sees Paul looking back on his Beatles day with a voice of maturity that the aging singer had previously not been able to accept.. "Queenie Eye" is undeniably one of the Beatle's most unique, yet classic, singles in a long time, much like the album's title track. Oh, also, make sure you stick around for the hidden track--it's a heartbreaker. Expand
  5. Oct 16, 2013
    8
    The album title says it all. McCartney's first original outing in six years proves to be classic Macca while incorporating different soundsThe album title says it all. McCartney's first original outing in six years proves to be classic Macca while incorporating different sounds and styles from four different producers. At its worst, the album's lyrics become overly droll (see "On My Way to Work"), but at its best, McCartney's hooks prove to be forever unfailingly and head-bobbingly fun. Expand
  6. Dec 12, 2013
    8
    Pretty much any genre or style Paul has been known for is here, from energized garage rock with great distorted riffs (“Save Us”) to tenderPretty much any genre or style Paul has been known for is here, from energized garage rock with great distorted riffs (“Save Us”) to tender ballads (“Hosanna”, “Looking At Her” & “Scared”) to the upbeat power pop that dominates most of this album (“I Can Bet”, “Queenie Eye”, “Everybody Out There” & “Turned Out”). The title track is probably one of my favorite songs of the year. It's a perfect pop song that to me almost sounds like a Sgt. Pepper outtake. The lyrics are simple & relatable while staying genuine & never coming off lazy or pandering, and it's all surrounded with instantly catchy melodies. That sentence could be a good descriptor for a lot of these songs, but it especially applies to this one. There's a lot of diversity on this album, and an impressive amount of experimentation. "Appreciate” delves into the world of electro-pop in a way that somehow feels completely natural for him. “Hosanna” updates the psychedelia from Revolver with manipulated, backmasked & looped sitar parts & a thick coating of reverb. “Looking At Her” is a sweet drum machine-powered ballad that builds fantastically into the chorus, which adds some nicely toned buzzing synths & guitar leads. There are also some little electronic touches sprinkled throughout the album in the form of drum production that shifts mid-song or the occasional catchy synth line that can really add a lot. Of course Paul never strays too far from the pop formula or does anything that'd alienate old fans too much, but it's incredible that an artist that's been writing music for more than a half century can continue putting out creative & interesting content.

    While the lyrics are never bad or even boring, it's pretty easy to tell that the music got much more of a change than what's being sung over it. They pretty much all center around love, mostly in a happy way. But it's delivered in such a charming way that you can't help but believe Paul when he sings certain lines that in the hands of some other singers might come off overly basic or lacking in distinct personality. And the fact that he, a 71-year-old man, can pull off the playful & vaguely sexual flirts in “I Can Bet” so well is just baffling. He can get outside this comfort zone sometimes though, with equally good results, on tracks like “On My Way to Work”, "Appreciate" or "Everybody Out There". Honestly the only real misfire on the standard edition of this album, in my opinion, is “Early Days”. I didn't mind it too much at first since it at least sounded pretty, but when I started actually reading along with the lyrics I got a bit annoyed. Outside the great jab at obsessed Beatles “historians”, it just seems like pandering to the old fans. It doesn't offer much in the way of insight & to me is a bump in the road for an otherwise very forward-thinking collection of tracks. I would've at least exchanged it in the track list for the great bonus track “Turned Out”, which actually approaches the topic of reminiscing in a much much interesting way. Also the bonus tracks “Get Me Out of Here” & “Struggle” really rubbed me the wrong way for just feeling sloppy, either in the production or vocal delivery, though you can't fault bonus tracks too badly. They're really the only blemishes on an otherwise fantastic piece of work.

    I knew I'd at least like New but my expectations were still exceeded, mostly by the stylistic ambition & diversity. Since there are a few songs I don't like I can't rate it in the 90's, but it's still a great album from a man that no longer needs to prove himself, but still does out of his love for the music. And I can't have enough respect for a musician like that.

    Top 5 tracks: New, Appreciate, Save Us, I Can Bet, Looking At Her
    Score: 88/100
    (For a longer review go to my Facebook page "That Non-Elitist Music Fan".)
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  7. Feb 26, 2014
    0
    Not a single song on here is worth listening to. Sure, Paul McCartney experiments on some songs, but it just sounds bad overall. NiceNot a single song on here is worth listening to. Sure, Paul McCartney experiments on some songs, but it just sounds bad overall. Nice effort, but the songs just weren't well written. Then there's some obligatory Beatles' rip-off songs. And all the rest are mainly forgettable. Some of the songs have potential, but then they either go nowhere or go in a negative direction.

    This guy just puts out these albums to make money. And critics are too afraid to bash his new music for what it really is: garbage. In fact, McCartney as a solo artist was never very good. His albums were always pretty lame, but with a few absolute standouts.

    Lennon was the one with the better solo career. And I think he'd be rolling in his grave at the music McCartney is making currently. They certainly weren't getting along towards the end anyways in terms of liking each other's songs. So, I doubt he would like what he's doing now.
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See all 22 User Reviews