Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Paul debuts "New" songs

Macca played the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas this past weekend and live-debuted three cuts from his forthcoming record, New. One was the title track, which I wrote about here. The other two, "Everybody Out There" and "Save Us", can be found below. Enjoy.
New will be released stateside on October 15th.
"Everybody Out There"
"Save Us"

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inspired by The Beatles - "No. 1 Party Anthem"

Alex Turner has long been primed for a John Lennon moment. If you're unaware, Turner is the hyper-talented frontman of the British guitar-rock combo Arctic Monkeys, who earlier this month dropped their fifth LP, AM. Midway through this ace record, after a run of dark, moody, swaggering cuts, Turner switches gears and goes into full-on Lennon mode with "No. 1 Party Anthem". It's a big ballad in the vein of, say, "Mind Games" or John's "Angel Baby" cover. It's layered, echoey, and shimmering, with a heavy gait and slow swoop. Producer James Ford applies a widescreen treatment to what is really a modest construction. Call it the "Phil Spector effect", something John knew all about.
The rest matches up too. Typical of Turner, the lyric - which wryly describes the hesitations of an after-hours romeo - boasts sharply drawn narration and clever turns-of-phrase. Money line: "It's not like I'm falling in love / I just want you to do me no good / And you look like you could." Calls to mind one of John's Rubber Soul flames, no? And when you next listen to the song, close your eyes and imagine Lennon delivering the lead. From the verses to the chorus to dazzling bridge ("The look of love" / "The rush of blood..."), the shoe fits impeccably.
Here's to hoping that Turner revisits this generous well in the near future.
(If the video is removed, go here.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Obvious fact: The Beatles had great voices

If you haven't listened to the vocals-only Beatles tracks that have been floating around the Internet of late, you really should. They cast in sharp, crystal-clear relief some truths we've long known: the Fabs' harmonized voices interlocked with beautiful precision; John often sang as if everything was on the line; and Paul could really wail. The place to start is the Side Two song cycle of Abbey Road (below). There's no need for me to rhapsodize about what a dazzling display of pop craftsmanship it is; that's self-evident. But I will say this: even with just the isolated vocal, "Golden Slumbers" is still as spirited and reviving as ever. Again, Paul could wail.
(If the video is removed, go here.)
"Pop & Hiss," the L.A. Times' music blog, has more.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

"New" (acoustic)

Speaking of Paul's zest for life, this "impromptu" acoustic rendition of "New" is a little ball of cheery vibes. More here.
(If the video is removed, go here.)

Saturday, September 14, 2013


I'm exceedingly late to the ball, but I still wanted to opine...
The already-standard take on Macca's gleaming and sunny new single really does hit the mark: for a song entitled "New", there's no small amount of the past on display. The feel and flow of the verses recall "Got to Get You into My Life" and "Penny Lane"; the bouyant rhythm bears the fingerprints of "Getting Better"; and the surprise coda - a barbershop quartet contraption with a hint of the Beach Boys - comes from the playbook of "Hello, Goodbye". "New" is a masterful lesson in Beatles-esque from one of the originators.
If anything's "new", it's 1) the producer, Mark Ronson, who applies a spotless pop polish to the harpsichord-driven arrangement, and 2) the source of Paul's inspiration, Nancy Shevell, who wed the ex-Beatle in October of 2011. When Macca sings, "We can do what we want / We can live as we choose," you can't help but take his youthful enthusiasms at face value. An unparalleled talent, a towering cultural icon, and a happily married man, Paul runs on joie de vivre. "New" is just another victory lap.
(If the video is removed, go here.)
Paul's forthcoming album, New, is due out on 10/15. The track listing is here.