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Paul McCartney's 'New' album: What's the verdict?

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By Breeanna Hare

Macca's still got it.

At 71, Paul McCartney has unveiled a new collection of songs, helpfully titled "New," and critics are agreeing that the former Beatle has delivered a sonically fresh album.

"With peaks as high as any music he's done this century and nary a valley as low as ... his oft-treacly last record of standards, 'Kisses on the Bottom,' Paul McCartney's latest studio album is pretty damned good," says the Los Angeles Times. Across 13 songs, including a bonus track, McCartney shifts "from hard rock to gentle balladry to new wave-inflected pop-rock (balancing) past and present, memory and the future, distortion and clarity, (and) notions of new and old."

It makes sense that McCartney would embrace the past while looking toward the future on "New," his first original studio offering in six years. In order to pull it off, McCartney enlisted super-producers like Mark Ronson, Paul Epworth and Giles Martin, "each of whom has succeeded in challenging him and getting him to take risks," the Washington Post says in a review. "More than just the mercurial sonics are affecting and original here; the lyrics, too, are anything but slapdash or off-the-cuff."

Of course, in this "nostalgia-obsessed age," NME says, "there's never been a better time to be a pensionable rock legend with a new record."

But McCartney's "New" is genuinely progressive, rather than just a ploy to satisfy the hordes who'll support an aging rocker on the grounds of memories alone.

"Happily, ‘New' avoids becoming another thumbs-akimbo entry into the Groovy Uncle Paul canon," NME critiques, giving "New" a seven out of 10. "Instead, it's his most enjoyable record in years."
   
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