Anyone fortunate enough to see Paul McCartney in concert in recent years knows that he has lost very little of his stride and has perhaps even gained a renewed pep.
That sense of purpose is reflected in “New,” his first album of original material in six years, following his sweet-natured trip into the pre-rock era with last year’s “Kisses on the Bottom.” A mix of sounds and styles, “New” has echoes of Macca’s brilliant past — especially in the instant earworm title track with its happy high-stepping groove, irresistible melody, and falsetto coos — as well as a recognition for contemporary production that favors bent and woozy electronic bits.
This is in part thanks to a host of simpatico co-producers and co-songwriters including Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles producer George, Ethan Johns, Mark Ronson, and Paul Epworth (best known for his work with Adele). His terrific touring band also lends heft, putting their all into every backing vocal, keyboard squiggle, and crisp groove.
Most crucially, the tunes are here, especially on the slinky, fuzzed out “Appreciate,” the winsome acoustic swinger “Everybody Out There,” and urgent opener “Save Us.” McCartney also allows some raw emotion to spill out on the poignant Beatles remembrance “Early Days.” While there are a few silly love songs in the batch, some of us still haven’t had enough. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Early Days”