Rambling along with a scronky cadence, like a tougher “Penny Lane” or a less refined “Got to Get You into My Life,” Paul McCartney’s new song “New” doesn’t particularly live up to its name — though there’s not a damned thing wrong with that.
After all, you could hardly ask for anything more from McCartney’s long-waited return to solo popcraft — apparently also to be called New, and due in October 2013 — than for it to remind you of his previous work.
That’s McCartney’s great blessing, and his dizzying curse. Everything gets put up against something else. (The Beatles stuff, sure. Also, does this remind you, lyrically, too much of his empty-calorie 1970s-era paeans to the late Linda McCartney? With a little bit of boasty “World Tonight” toughness thrown in? And a swooning vocal moment straight out of “See Your Sunshine”?) Forget all of that for a moment, if it’s possible. Get inside the quiet moment that comes, right at the 2:25 mark, and open your ears to it.
What happens next is a kaleidoscopic moment of musical joy, so pure and unadorned that it could come from no one else … then or now. And just like that, it’s over. But not before the Mark Ronson-produced “New” has reminded you of everything you’ve always loved about Paul McCartney — and, come the fall, will assuredly love all over again.