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Paul McCartney, New (Hear Music, 2013)
Originally published on December 1, 2013

           Paul McCartney couldn’t make up his mind, so he didn’t. He had not planned to work with four different producers. But, he was unable to choose between Paul Epworth (winner of four Grammys in 2012 for his work with Adele), Giles Martin (son of the Beatles’ producer George Martin, who worked with his father on the Beatles’ LoveCD, and whose production credits include work by Jeff Beck and Elvis Costello), Ethan Jones (a multi-instrumentalist who has produced records for Ryan Adams, Crowded House, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne, et al.), and Mark Ronson (winner of five Grammys for his work with Amy Winehouse).

           That four producers are not three too many is evident in the song sequence that is the heart of the CD: “On My Way to Work,” “Queenie Eye,” “Early Days,” and “New.” Although Giles Martin had a production role in three of the four songs, the primary production credits were split evenly. In “On My Way to Work” McCartney describes the world from the vantage point of a young man wondering about love. “Queenie Eye,” co-written with Paul Epworth, takes its inspiration from a children’s guessing game: “Queenie Eye, Queenie Eye. Who’s got the ball? I haven’t got it. It isn’t in my pocket.” In “Early Days” Paul reminisces about the beginning of his partnership with John and puts would-be historians in their place. And then in the title track he turns from the past to a present full of promise and gives us a celebratory love song. A half a century on, Paul McCartney is still searching for new sounds and writing fine songs.

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