Review: McCartney stays fresh, familiar on 'New'
Paul McCartney, "New" (Hear Music)
For his 16th solo record, and first of original material in six years, Paul McCartney turned to a team of four hot producers to come up with something "New."
The result is both fresh and comfortably familiar. McCartney, a master of the catchy 3-minute pop song, isn't reinventing himself here as the title may suggest. Rather, he's once again compiling an enjoyable 45 minutes or so of toe-tapping pop songs that are sure to please his longtime fans while doing little to break much truly "new" ground.
Just try listening to "On My Way to Work" or "Queenie Eye" without bobbing your head along to the beat. Really, love him or hate him, few can pump out these types of ditties quite like McCartney.
Still, he's no Bob Dylan.
There are flirtations with material with some gravitas here, but it's just that — a flirtation. McCartney may toy with addressing in song whatever demons he may have, but he certainly doesn't linger.
That said, the mere fact that McCartney is able to come up with something that isn't a simple retread of his past successes must be considered a success — especially when that would be the easy way out, and one that he's taken many times over his storied career.
Much of the credit for the success of "New" goes to McCartney's four producers — especially Paul Epworth (Adele) and Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse). The other two, Giles Martin and Ethan Johns, are the sons of famous Beatles producers George Martin and Glyn Johns.
While the multi-producer approach could have resulted in a hot mess, the end result is surprisingly cohesive, modern-sounding and, most of all, fun to listen to. AP
Review: McCreery moving beyond 'Idol' with new LP
Scotty McCreery, "See You Tonight" (19/Mercury Nashville)
The first "American Idol" victor born in the 1990s, Scotty McCreery turned 20 the week before releasing "See You Tonight," his follow-up to 2011's platinum debut, "Clear As Day." The former church choir boy quickly establishes how much he has matured, opening his album with a rocking party tune, "Now," and an urgent late-night call to his girlfriend on the title cut.
McCreery co-wrote those two songs and three others — his first cuts as a songwriter, another sign of his artistic maturation. His growth also comes across in the subtle inflections he brings to "Feel Good Summer Song," a heartbreaker that requires some complexity in its vocal delivery and in the blend of pain and desire that the lyrics require.
At this point, the North Carolina native's baritone no longer sounds like a novelty, and he doesn't push the low tones as persistently. Sounding more relaxed, McCreery combines the traditional aspects of heroes Josh Turner and Randy Travis with contemporary touches brought in by producer Frank Rogers (Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker). The result shows McCreery moving into a style of his own that should win him fans beyond the "Idol" fan base. AP