Paul and Capitol released the new double single “I Don’t Know/Come On To Me” as a downloadable stream on June 20th, 2018.
An exclusive record store day of 5000 (hand numbered) 7” vinyls were issued later that year on November 23rd.
August 15th saw the second single, “Fuh You,” released.
Lyric videos were released on YouTube for the first singles “Come On To Me”, “I Don’t Know”, and “Fuh You”. Eventually, official music videos were released for “Fuh You”, “Back In Brazil” and “Come On To Me”.
The music videos are a creative departure from many of McCartney’s previous music videos in that they each focus on the lives of ordinary people with McCartney only appearing briefly (on stage) in the conclusion of “Back In Brazil”.
On July 6th we saw the limited release of The Beatles “Yellow Submarine”/“Eleanor Rigby” 7” picture disc. The single was in conjunction to the new restoration of the film to 4k on its 50th anniversary.
Paul and his magnificent band took the new album on the road for the “Freshen Up” tour.
Before kicking it off he had his band play a warm-up “secret” concert at Grand Central Terminal that was live-streamed on YouTube. Music only videos of each performance were later uploaded to his YouTube channel.
It started on September 17th in Quebec, Canada. Four more Canadian shows followed, and onto four shows in Japan and five shows in Europe, finishing on December 16th at the O2 Arena in London.
He also headlined Austin City Limits Festival in Austin , Texas on October 5th and the 12th. In between he did a 14 song set at a private party for Patriots owner Robert Craft at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.
The tour would continue in 2019 with five shows in South America in March of 2019 followed by sixteen shows in North America from May23rd, finishing on July 13th at Dodger Stadium…. And that was it.. World health events most assured cut what would have been more dates on an album that Paul was very willing to go out and promote. ————————————————-
The week after EGYPT STATION was released it became the first McCartney solo album to go to number #1 in the USA since 1982’s TUG OF WAR. The Target edition and European editions included two bonus tracks.
It was also released on… Limited Green Vinyl by Spotify.
Limited Red Vinyl by Barnes & Noble
He did tons of interview and promotional appearances in support before and on its release.
It was was very well received by the critics as well.
I found the review by Rob Sheffield in Rolling Stone as the definitive look. It starts…. ‘Make a list of all the songwriters who were composing great tunes in 1958. Now, make an overlapping list of the ones who are still writing brilliant songs in 2018. Your list: Paul McCartney.
May 7th, 2019 (just 8 months after it’s release) saw the release of EGYPT STATION, “Explorer’s Edition.” The Explorer’s Edition was comprised of the original record plus a second album, Egypt Station II.
The bonus disc collects all songs released during the Egypt Station voyage, from studio tracks including the surprise single ‘Get Enough’ to live performances captured at stops such as Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern and Grand Central Station. It was available in both black and limited multi-color vinyl.
As if this wasn’t enough….on May 10th, 2019 we would also see the release of EGYPT STATION “Travelers Edition.” It included three previously unreleased tracks. The “Traveler’s Edition” was limited to 3,000 copies.
The collection included the following:
A Limited Edition Concertina Tri-Fold Deluxe 180G Vinyl Double Black Disc Pressing of Egypt Station.
An Exclusive Limited Edition Bonus 180G Vinyl Pressing of Egypt Station II in “Night Scene” blue, featuring three previously unreleased tracks — ‘Frank Sinatra’s Party,’ ‘Sixty Second Street’ and extended cut of Egypt Station single ‘Who Cares’ — as well as four live performances of Egypt Station tracks taken from Abbey Road Studios, The Cavern Club, LIPA, and the performance at Grand Central Station.
Limited Edition Egypt Station Concertina CD.
Exclusive Limited Edition collector’s Egypt Station Blue Cassette.
1.Vintage-style embossed Egypt Station artwork suitcase.
An exclusive copy of a handwritten note from Paul.
A fold out, vintage-style Egypt Station illustrated map suitable for framing.
Travel memorabilia including “travel itinerary”, postcards, baggage tickets and first class ticket.
Egypt Station luggage stickers
Travel journal featuring copies of Paul’s handwritten lyrics
Two Egypt Station lithographs of Paul’s paintings
500+ piece jigsaw puzzle
Egypt Station playing cards
Additional hidden surprises and rarities.
Originally sold in the $250 range, it now averages between $500-$1000 online.
On October 19th, 2018 announcement of the next set of Archive Releases. This time it would encompass the entire late 1971- mid 1973 period, WILD LIFE/RED ROSE SPEEDWAY. More on these when we focus on 2019. ———————————————— Being a first generation fan, I remember plunking down my $5-$7 for all the Paul’s albums when they came out, and then playing them to death on my tiny “sound system.”
Being a completest today requires credit cards with a large limit, or a bank account to match.
It is very hard to decide what to buy to listen to and enjoy and alter it’s pristine state OR buying and leave unopened and watch it’s cost become even more unreachable in time…
I find I fall mostly in the former.
More on this madness in the 2020’s.
Here then are my reviews of the studio tracks that were bonus to both the Explorer’s and Traveler’s editions. The bonus “live” tracks will be covered when all of Paul live is reviewed…
“Get Started” Acoustic bopper that leaps and bounds with Wings era vocal swirls and electric jangles. Filled with Paul’s sweet hooks and Tedder’s production is spot on. Finishes with a delightful “foxy lady”sounding coda, Paul howling us into the night. Rating – 8.5
“Home Tonight” Double tracked vocal and handclaps on this brassy ass shaker. Paul sounds like he’s having a blast. A homage to finding a safe place to land air the end of the day. Rating – 8
“In A Hurry” A woman story song that sounds much like his band from the 60’s. He notches up the tempo in the repeated chorus. A cascade of sound combinations that we’ve never heard from Paul, which combining studio and live performance sounds. It even features a mini sax solo. A short reprise ends this odd mix of sounds. Rating – 7.5
“Nothing For Free” I did three tracks with Ryan and “Fuh You” is the one on the album and then there’s two others, they’re nice.
We only had a week, because there was a time when Greg was doing something else and my manager rung up and said you could maybe get with another producer, just to switch it up a bit, so he sent me some suggestions and I liked Ryan’s stuff.
I rang him, and I think we decided he’d come to my studio for a week and we’d just see how we went. I said, ‘I’ve got a lot of songs we could do,’ but in the end, he just fancied making it up, so we just, you know, we went in with nothing, just got a beat, got a thing, got an idea for some lyrics and just built it up, you know, but he knows what he’s doing.
“Okay Okay, Okay”….. I absolutely love this song. It should have been on the album proper, but just having it here completes me. If this song had been on any album during Paul’s run of the charts years, this would be considered a classic. I’m starting to think maybe Ryan Tedder should produce Paul in 2022 if given the chance. The soundscape and thought on the final mix is one of the finest of Macca’s entire cannon. Paul’s slightly distorted vocals make it almost hard to realize it’s him. How did this song not gave any special attention other than in my being? Rating – 9
“Frank Sinatra’s Party” The history of the song starts more than 40 years ago, the melody coming from “Fishy Matters Underwater“, a demo recorded in July 1976.
Only Paul could take a fragment from a home demo tape made 42 years earlier and revision it as a reggae soaked peek into the that early 1960’s time period when the Rat Pack were the kings of show business. Rating – 9
“Sixty Second Street” Acoustic ditty formed around the double meaning title. Could easily have fit on any Simon & Garfunkel album. A few interesting jazzy tempo changes keep your ears perked. Paul is the master of all. Rating – 8
“Who Cares” (full length) Paul cut the extended play-out from this version to include on the original album. So I love it based off that, and the added interplay between drums, acoustic, electric and bass for the extra 2 minutes are sweet, but not really needed. I however, also want this version for selfish reasons. Rating – 9
“Get Enough” Slightly fragile piano ballad that has Paul auto-tuning again, and even hitting falsetto auto-tune on the bridge. The intensity builds and then mid-way the song turns the chorus into a homage of Beach Boys wall of harmony.
Wow, didn’t see that coming. Would have loved an entire song of only that. Still, another like nothing we have ever heard from Paul, and repeated listens only makes you like it more. Rating – 8
I apologize for the length, but the motherfucker is just so busy working…. I feel he knows there are only so many sundowns left and he will spend each adding to the treasures he’ offered.
This post will deal with JUST the review of Paul McCartney’s 17th solo album release, EGYPT STATION.
The next post will recall the roll out, the diversity of product offered and the critical and chart results, as well as additional tracks that were released with future versions that were soon released.
And we’ll finish with what else happened in 2018… But that’s the next post….. But NOW! ———————————————— The Album
The cover is a wonderful display of Paul’s artwork. He created the piece “Egypt Station”in 1999. It was the featured in his book, “Paintings.”
“My original inspiration was similar to a picture we were talking about the other day, with Egyptian symbols and shapes I got from looking at a reference book on Egypt. I was interested in the way they drew sunflowers, so two appear on the left and on the right. It was a nice shape, so I took that and then I also love the way they symbolize trees. I like the way they reduce a tree to just some very simple symbols.”
———————————————— “Opening Station” “When we decided we were going to call the album “Egypt station”, I liked the idea of making a montage of sounds that were sort of like a station, so we found one station and then we added another one to it, the sound effects of real stations, and then we started to make up some little noises that we added to make it like a dream, so the idea being that, this kind of dream location was where all this music was going to emanate from. And you set off on a journey and each song becomes a different station. I liked the words ‘Egypt Station.’ It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make…
‘Egypt Station’ starts off at the station on the first song and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from.” -Paul
-Much like his previous albums TUG OF WAR (1982), which opened to a montage of sounds of struggle, and PIPES OF PEACE (1983), which opened to a montage of sounds of war/chaos/conflict, EGYPT STATION perfectly sets the mood which puts the listener in the station, waiting to board..
I like the idea that each song would be a stop on the line. Each song would then represent a feeling or emotion or maybe even be inspired by the location stopped at.
I don’t think the concept was kept up, as to me it feels like a group of songs book-ended by the opening and closing stations….
In this instance it’s more like The Beatles SGT. PEPPER’S album, where the concept was loosely connected by the title track and its reprise. Pepper was envisioned initially as each song would be “recorded” by a different band.
The Turtles 1968 album, THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS, is the only album I know that stuck with this concept from start to finish. Each track was credited to different “bands.”
Still, a wonderful way to feel like I have boarded and await the next adventure.
Rating – N/A While it is listed as a track, I am not going to rate it…. Unlike other “links” that Paul has included on RAM/WILD LIFE/TUG OF WAR, this instrumental works perfectly as it is intended. The train has left the station….
“I Don’t Know” “I wrote this after going through a difficult period. Like people have nothing sort of madly serious or anything, but just one of those days when it’s like, “Oh my god, am I doing wrong here?”, you know. And sometimes that’s a good way to write a song, because you’re coming from your soul.
And we often used to say that writing a song was like talking to a psychiatrist, a therapist or something. Because you’re saying it… You are saying it in a song rather than in a room to a specialist. Yeah, so it was me just thinking this problem out, and putting it into a song.” – Paul
-A track which features only Paul and producer Kurstin. A gentle piano introduction leads into a magnificent mid-tempo ballad. Vintage McCartney, showing vulnerability we don’t often see from him. Just a wonderful song, lyrically, production and perfect way to start our journey. Rating – 9
“Come On To Me” “This sort of a pick-up song, and I’m imagining myself, probably in the sixties, going to a party and seeing someone and thinking “oh okay, how do I make an approach here?”. So it’s a sort of, it’s an imaginary song, a fantasy song about a guy seeing someone and thinking “we should try and find a place to be alone here, and maybe exchange information and stuff, and hey you look like you flashed a smile and said to me you wanted so much more than casual conversation. So would you come on to me, or am I going to come on to you?” -Paul
Three music videos showing three different characters, working the night shift and dancing on the song “Come On To Me”, were produced, and finally mixed together into a fourth version. All those videos were released in October 2018.
-Paul uses his band on this sexually charged rocker. Nice tempo change. Love the fact that Paul used the Mrs. Mills piano, also used on “Lady Madonna.” While the idea of then 76 year old Paul getting frisky caused a bit of stink in the Beatle community, I found it refreshing. The foot never stopped tapping. Brian Ray’s sitar and Paul on harmonica were surprises. Nice little coda at the end, with classic Paul bass runs (which he seems to do less of in his later albums). Rating – 8.5
“Happy With You” “Yeah, I was on holiday and I was just noodling around on the guitar, and I was thinking about the days when I had a lot of free time and used to just sort of lie around basically doing nothing all day, and getting a bit stoned and… just doing nothing really. Busy doing nothing.
And so I got this little riff on the guitar and the words came to me, you know: “I used to lie around all day, I used to get stoned, I used to like to get wasted, but these days I don’t.” So it’s a song about growing up. There’s a period in your life – in some people’s lives – when they’re not being as productive, or not being as organized or disciplined as they may later turn out to be. So this was basically it.” -Paul
-While I always loved that Paul was open about his enjoyment of smoked herbs in the past, here he tells of just enjoying life and love, clear eyed. Good for him. Rating – 7.5
“Who Cares” “With “Who Cares”, I was thinking about a song where you actually are talking to the people who may listen to it. And in my case I was imagining young fans, or young people who might hear this, and who are going through some sort of problem where they’re being picked on, being put on.
These days it would be internet bullying, trolls and all that. In my school days, it would have just been bullies and people just generally picking on each other. So I know that has happened all over the world to millions of people.
So my thing was to kind of try and help, almost kind-of give some sort of advice. So the song says, you know: “have you ever been fed up with being bullied? Has this ever happened when people have called you names, have done mean things? Has this ever happened to you? Well, who cares. And then in a twist at the end of that chorus is like “Who cares? I do”. -Paul
In December 2018, a music video for “Who Cares“ was released. The video follows a story of a woman played by Emma Stone visiting a psychiatrist played by Paul. ‘Who Cares’ features a message of universal positivity rendered in vivid colorful detail.
-Paul and the band knock this one out of the park. Outstanding melody, lyrics that hit at the heart of the subject. Paul even tries his best to take it up a notch vocally at the end. This is an excellent song, with an even better video. He had me at Emma Stone. Rating – 8.5
“Fuh You” “With this one I was in the studio with Ryan Tedder whereas the rest of the album has been made with Greg Kurstin… We were just thinking of ideas and little pieces of melody and chords and the song just came together bit by bit. And then I would try and make some kind of sense of the story.
So it was like ‘Come on baby now. Talk about yourself. Tell the truth, let me get to know you’ and basically I wanna know how you feel, you make me wanna go out and steal. I just want it for you. So that was the basic idea and it developed from there… sort of a love song, but a raunchy love song. There you go – “Fuh You.” -Paul
In September 2018, a music video for “Fuh You“, filmed in the streets of Liverpool, was published. The black-and-white video opens with a teenage couple sharing a kiss on a front doorstep before the girl’s mother intrudes and sends the boy home. The enamored young protagonist then wanders the streets of Liverpool, singing and dancing along with “Fuh You” as he makes his way home.
-I think Paul tries very hard to be contemporary with this one, as it’s production is very radio friendly. However, for 76 year old Paul, it misses the mark slightly. Rating – 7.5
“Confidante” “It’s a love song to the guitar, how the guitar was my confidante, and I told you every little secret thing, and, in fact, unlike my other so-called friends, you stood beside me while I fought. So it became a symbol of the guitar as a mate, as a friend, as a confidant.” – Paul
-Wonderful homage to his 6 string friend. Just Paul. Builds nicely with outstanding acoustic guitar throughout. Well done. Rating – 8.5
“People Want Peace” “I had played a gig in Israel quite a few years ago, and I wanted to go to Palestine before I went to Israel, because I was very aware of the political situation there. So I didn’t want to just look like I was ignoring Palestine playing in Israel, although that was where the date was, the gig.
So I made arrangements to go into Palestine across the border, and go to a little music school and shake hands with the kids, and hang out and listen to them playing some music. Just to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.
And then when I came back into Israel I then met with some cool people from a group called One Voice, a political group, kind of thing, a movement. And we ended up wearing their badges on our show in Tel Aviv. So the whole idea was a peace mission, really, because these kids were great. I say kids, they were kind of young adults. And I’d say to them, “what is it? What do you want to do, you know?”. They say “All we want to do is just live in peace, raise our families, you know, and be able to just get on with our lives in peace”.
And so that tied in with something that when I was a kid. I’d asked my dad and said – you know, we were seeing all the wars and stuff, on the newspapers, on TV and so I’d said to him “what is it? You know, do people want peace or do they just like to fight?”. And he sort-of looked at me, very quietly said “No, no, son, people want peace. It’s the politicians and the leaders who get into wars. It’s not the people”. So that always struck me as a great phrase.” -Paul
-A little too big a production for me. Paul has given us songs (and albums) about peace and love before. The middle eight is very much like the middle eight from the unreleased 1986 track “Return To Pepperland.” Overall, a nice track with a nice message. Rating – 7.5
“Hand In Hand” “Sometimes songs just come to you, sort of late at night. And I’ve got a piano at home, and in actual fact this particular piano happens to be my dad’s old piano, so it’s special to me. And I was sitting there one night and I just started to find these chords that are the beginning of Hand In Hand. And it’s basically a love song. And as I wrote it, I was imagining me and Nancy about to go through life hand in hand. It was written in the early stage of our relationship.
And then I started to think, ‘Yeah, well, this is a lot of people.’ You know, there are millions of people in that situation, where they’ve got someone they love, and they want to go through life hand in hand, and to be a partnership of some kind.
And it was nice, actually, when we recorded it, we had two lady cellists. That’s all there is on there beside the band. And it was very sweet ’cause at the end of it we liked what they’d done, we said that’s great, thank you. And one of them sort of said, ‘Oh, you know what? I’m getting married for the second time, and I’m a little bit nervous, but this song has made me think it’s going to work out all right.’ So we thought, that’s it! You know, that’s a reason, right there, for writing that song.” -Paul
-Fragile touching vocal on this tender love song to Nancy. Pedro Eustache’s King bansori Indian Flute is lovely when combined with Vanessa Freebairn-Smith’s cello. Rating – 7.5
“Dominoes” “One of the interesting things about songs is they often come from something that happens in your life, and your song is the reaction to it. It could be something very small. You just sort of have an argument with someone and you can just go off and think “I’ll just play guitar for a while, get out of it, you know, get over it”. And this kind of started like that.
So it’s just a people song about how things are really all right but they don’t always seem to be alright. And then I got this image of dominoes, you know, when people line up those millions of dominoes and then they drop the first one and it goes through this whole sequence.
So I imagined that as being symbolic of life and, you know, how one little action can have such a big effect on this huge line of dominoes. And then when I recorded it, it seemed I wanted to do it very personally as a sort of personal song. You know, even though he goes through all this stuff, and all these dominoes fall over and life goes on and in fact in the end it’s okay.
-A album highlight for me. Fantastic production. Paul sounds like a teen, and the song is filled with more hooks than a pirate convention. The bass line flows like a gentle stream. And Paul gives us what he brought to The Beatles in 1966, an ending filled with guitar Brennel tape loops. I’m going gaga as Paul scats softly on the outro. “It’s been a blast.” Rating – 9
“Back In Brazil” “So I was in Brazil on tour… This is one of those nice free days where there was nothing planned and I had a piano in the room of the hotel room, so I got this little riff and got this idea of “Back in Brazil”. There was this girl who dreams of a future far far better world, she meets a man and he fits him with a plan. You know, so it’s a story about a couple and trials and tribulations…
Things are going well and she plans a date but he can’t come cuz’ they got him working late… And so it was just an imaginary story of two young Brazilian people and it’s kind dance-like so I wanted to put Brazilian rhythms and get the flavor.” -Paul
-A nice change up. The Latin flare was a pallet cleanser. Pedro Eustache is back on Bamboo Flue and Dadook. The video didn’t overwhelm me. Actually, only “Who Cares” was the only one to feature McCartney. Very 10cc ending…. Rating – 8
“Do It Now” “Do It Now” is an expression my dad used to say. It’s funny, you know, as you get older, you remember things that your parents or maybe teachers or friends said, and if there’s a catchphrase.
And my dad’s big catchphrase was “do it now”. You know, you would sort of say, “No, well, I’ll do it later”, and he would say, “No, do it now”. And he used to say “DIN” so that was just his particular little catchphrase. And I always thought, DIN, that’s a great name for a record label… Anyway, this has always been in my mind, this “Do it now” thing. So I was looking for an idea to write this song about, so then I started off, okay, I’m on a journey, I’ve been invited to go somewhere, so if I’m going in my imagination somewhere, and the idea is that if I don’t do it now, I may never get to this place.
Basically it’s a song, an imaginary journey suggested by the fact that my dad would have said, “Go on that journey now, don’t leave it till it’s too late”. So there it is. Do it now.” – Paul
-Another subject Paul has dealt with in past songs, the “live now” because life is short message. Lovely backing by the massive orchestra takes Paul’s message and sends it to us on a cloud. A great message. Rating – 8
“Caesar Rock” “Caesar Rock. Okay there’s some times when I get in my studio with my engineer Steve Orchard and we just start making up stuff. We will just have no idea what we’re gonna do but we’ll play with things we are interested in. So I might just start off with a drum machine, do something and put a little piano on it, or put the bass on it, and then maybe some ideas on it.
It’s a nice way of working – I think of it as being kind of lazy, because it feels to me like you’ve got a day off. In truth, you haven’t, because you’re making a song. But there is this feeling of freedom: ‘You don’t really have to do this, it’s not a proper song, we’re making it up’. I went in one day and we started making this song and then I was playing with a little auto-tune thing that I’d been familiarized with by working with Kanye. So I thought, ‘I fancy having a go at this’ and in a way it’s a bit sacrilegious. I know a lot of people say: ‘Oh, no no no, you shouldn’t do that, that’s for hip hop and we wanna hear your voice pure’. But then I started thinking “are you kidding me”… You know you listen to some of the Beatles records, Tomorrow Never Knows, and we were never that, you know, nothing was that sacred. So I had a go, and sang: “She’s a rock” and put that through the Auto-tuner.
So it was “she’s a rock” but then we started referring to it as Caesar Rock because we were just having fun and so we just built it up. So I like that. I like this song because it’s slightly oddball, you know. It starts in one tempo and then it completely changes. That kind of thing sums it up: It’s a song where anything goes and I like it because of that.
And then we got then a group of people in the studio, some of the engineers, some of the guys who were hanging around. I said okay, come on, we all gonna go in and just be this big chorus thing. So I was going: “She’s a rock, yeah”. Then we were just adding things. And at the end I had this zany idea – because anything goes in a song like this – of: “I’ll just shout ‘she’s got loyalty’ and the answer will be ‘like a Royalty’”. Then, “she’s got symmetry” – “anonymity”. I mean, it was quite surreal lyrics, but we’re having fun with it. And the other thing I loved about it just right at the end of the track – I still don’t know how this happened – but it must have been me that shouted “she’s got matching teeth”. And everyone was just “She’s got matching teeth?”… I like the idea of matching teeth. I mean I was playing with that as an album title, Matching Teeth. Yes! So I mean that was one we had a lot of fun with Caesar rock!” -Paul
“I always think of things like these as being happy accidents. It happened more recently, too, on the song “Caesar Rock,” from my album “Egypt Station.” Somehow this drum part got dragged accidentally to the start of the song on the computer, and we played it back and it’s just there in those first few seconds and it doesn’t fit. But at the same time it does.”
-Never realized that the false intro was a mistake. Paul steps up and gives his best growls. Mid 70’s Paul would have taken off my eyebrows off with this one. Pulsing, aggressive and fully satisfying. Fantastic ending with Paul and the band chanting…. “Matching teeth?” Rating – 8.5
“Despite Repeated Warnings” “I was in Japan and I was reading a newspaper – I think it was like the Tokyo Times, Japan Times or something – and there was something about climate change and it’s typical, you know, the way people are kind of not doing anything about it. “It’s all gonna be fine, don’t worry, oh yeah sure there’s icebergs melting but it doesn’t matter, it’s not melting in London so don’t worry about it, you know.” And the phrase was in this article, it started off “Despite repeated warnings, they’re not listening”.
You know, it’s the idea. I like that phrase “Despite repeated warnings”. I thought, yeah, that sums up a lot of people’s feelings. And then thought, well, what I’ll do is I’ll do a kind of song where I used symbolism and so the person will be symbolic of certain politicians and people who argue that climate change is a hoax, and we know a few. So I’ll do it about that and I’ll get somebody to symbolize one of those people.
So I thought, okay it’s a sea captain and he’s steering a boat and he’s gonna go towards the icebergs but he’s been warned, and he’s going because he thinks he’s right, and he thinks they’re all making too much of it. The usual arguments you know…
So that’s what it’s about. It’s a sort of story like the Titanic. If they’d been warned, hey, you’re gonna sink from icebergs, and if the captain said “it doesn’t matter, it’ll be fine”. So it’s that, using that kind of idea, so there’s a sort of mad daft captain, and then there’s all the people on the boat who know he’s got it wrong. So it’s very symbolic for what’s going on in some areas of politics in my mind. So it’s one of those songs like Band On The Run or Live And Let Die that is kind of episodic and it’s kind of an epic production. That is it, and it is hopefully trying to remind people that climate change is not a hoax, and that we should avoid having a mad captain steering us towards the icebergs. – Paul
-Multi-part song that seems only Paul can write. Odd in that the next full track is also a multi-part song. We all understand the messages here. Paul delivered this as our country (USA) was splitting in two. “The best crew on the planet” Fuck you Donald. Rating – 8
“Station II” “Station II” is a continuation of the opening soundscape, that takes us back to the station. It’s an imaginary station and, you know, I like the idea that it’s a train station or it’s a radio station. It’s just some imaginary place, so we had fun just making up a soundscape.” – Paul
And then at the end of it, we thought it would be a nice idea to vaguely, in this big station, hear someone plugging in a guitar like he is a busker coming to play some songs and earn some money. So you hear him plug in and he plays a riff. It’s the beginning of one of our songs called “Hunt You Down”.
So he plays a dum dum dum, dum dum dum and then it gradually gets louder until it becomes the real song. -Paul
-Rating N/A. Like “Opening Station” in thought, but the use of the busker plugging in his guitar and leading into “Hunting You Down” was brilliant.
“Hunt You Down” “That’s a three-part song, which goes from this sort of rocker, Hunt You Down, and the words are: “I can’t find my love, no matter how hard I try,” you know, “She’s giving me the run-around,” just kind of like blues complaining lyrics. “Yeah, my woman done hurt me, I can’t find my love…” you know, it’s that kind of thing. So I’m having fun with that, and doing this rock ‘n’ roll piece, and that became Hunt You Down.” – Paul
Q: You mentioned that Prince inspired the song “Hunt You Down” on the new album. I also recall you saying he inspired the song “If You Wanna” on Flaming Pie. Has Prince inspired other songs and were you a big fan?
A: “I can’t think of other songs he has inspired, but those two definitely. I was always a big fan. I went to see him in concert a few times and wrote to him saying how much I enjoyed his guitar playing particularly. I met him a few times. The last time was a couple of New Year’s ago, when he played a New Year’s gig. I’ve always been a big fan.
And then it goes through, into another song called…..
-After a few listens I really do hear the Prince influence in this ass-kicking rocker. Great way to open the three part closer. Rating – 9
“Naked” And again it links through, ’cause there’s like a tempo change at the end of Hunt You Down. It goes from 4/4 into 3/4, and goes into this other song, which is a very simple song that I’d recorded pretty much on my own. It’s a simple song about ‘I’ve been naked since I was born.’ And, you know, this thing we go through that’s life, that everyone goes through it, and in a way there are many situations that you find yourself where you’re kind of naked, socially.
You can sort of feel naked: “I don’t know how to deal with this,” you know. So that’s what the song is about, that’s my take on that. As I say I played it myself, and sang it myself in the studio.” – Paul
-Odd, but interesting second part, not bad on it’s own, but loses some of the energy of “Hunt You Down.” Rating -7
“C-Link” And then that links on to another thing we called C-Link in the end, which it just me totally indulging myself in wanting to play guitar.
And the original take on it is about 11 minutes, I think. But it’s just me really enjoying playing electric guitar. ‘Cause I always say to people, people often say, ‘Why do you still do it?’ I say: “‘Cause I love it. I love this thing.”
And I’m still thrilled with having the privilege of being able to go up to an amp, turn it on, get my guitar, plug it in and play it very loud. It’s a thrill, and that’s never stopped being a thrill.
And then there were certain little phrases that were kind of more melodic than others. A lot of it’s just bluesy phrases, there were one or two in there that suggested something else.
So we orchestrated a few of the phrases, and made it a little more of a composition.
It was an idea that I fancied doing. I fancied doing it for a long time, of just getting someone – it turned out to be me – I was just going to get someone to play blues guitar against an orchestra holding a chord. In this case it was C, and then C minor, just the orchestra hold this chord forever and ever and ever, and then this guitar playing over the top of it. And actually I was always gonna ask Eric Clapton to do the blues guitar – so Eric, if you’re listening… But this time it turned out to be me – you know, D.I.N. – I’d better go round to it. And so, I did. And that finishes the album.
Right at the end of that session… you just hear a little ‘Whoo!’ and that’s it. Egypt Station. -Paul
-All I can say is I want to hear the 11 minute version. Paul lets his hair down and gives us some sweet blues licks. Nice…. the train slows at pulls back into Egypt Station, our journey now ending. A very enjoyable ride, indeed…. Rating – 8.5
Overall I have not included either of the “Station” songs into the final rating, and I have split the final medley into three parts, with the rating for each. So for the 16 rated tracks I have a final album score of 8.16/10.
Not bad at all for a 76 year old man, in a young persons game.
Next: The rest of 2018, the rollout of EGYPT STATION and additional music recorded at the time.
Paul spent much of the early part of the year, writing, recording and mixing what would be his next solo album.
He continued working with producer Greg Kurstin.
Kurstin has been associated with releases which have cumulatively sold more than 60 million albums worldwide. He has been nominated for 10 Grammy Awards, including Producer of the Year in 2010 and 2014. In addition to three other Grammys, Kurstin won Producer of the Year (Non-Classical) in 2017.
Kurstin co-wrote, produced and played most of the instruments on the record-breaking 2015 Adele single, “Hello.” Among others, he has worked with Sia, Beck, Kelly Clarkson, Ellie Goulding, Pink, the Shins, Tegan and Sara, Lily Allen, and Little Boots. He often plays guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, and engineers and programs the records he produces.
An “exceptionally accomplished” musician, Kurstin began his career as a jazz pianist and later co-founded Geggy Tah. He has collaborated with Inara George in The Bird and the Bee since 2004.
Paul also began to lay down a few tracks with American producer Ryan Tedder. Tedder, a member of OneRepublic, also has written songs for and produced U2, Adele, Beyoncé, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Westlife, Hilary Duff, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Big Time Rush, Camila Cabello, Taylor Swift, Leona Lewis, Zedd, Hailee Steinfeld and MØ.
Work would continue with Paul’s new material thru roughly mid, 2018, then the assembling of the roll out began….
Besides his new album, Paul’s involved in the re-mixing of 1968’s THE BEATLES (the white album) on it’s 50th anniversary.
This is the first time The BEATLES has been remixed and presented with additional demos and session recordings.
The album’s new edition followed 2017’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases.
To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘The White Album,’ Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All the new ‘White Album’ releases include Martin’s new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes. Martin’s new mix is guided by the album’s original stereo mix produced by his father, George Martin.
“In remixing ‘The White Album,’ we’ve tried to bring you as close as possible to The Beatles in the studio,” explains Giles Martin in his written introduction for the new edition. “We’ve peeled back the layers of the ‘Glass Onion’ with the hope of immersing old and new listeners into one of the most diverse and inspiring albums ever made.”
The BEATLES (‘White Album’) releases include:
Super Deluxe: The comprehensive, individually numbered 7-disc and digital audio collections feature:
CDs 1 & 2: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix
CD3: Esher Demos
Esher Demo tracks 1 through 19 sequenced in order of the finished song’s placement on ‘The White Album.’ Tracks 20-27 were not included on the album.
CDs 4, 5 & 6: Sessions 50 additional recordings, most previously unreleased, from ‘White Album’ studio sessions; all newly mixed from the four-track and eight-track session tapes, sequenced in order of their recording start dates.
Blu-ray: 2018 album mix in high resolution PCM stereo 2018 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 album mix 2018 Dolby True HD 5.1 album mix 2018 direct transfer of the album’s original mono mix
Deluxe: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo album mix + Esher Demos The 3CD; 180-gram 4LP vinyl box set (limited edition); and digital audio collections pair the 2018 stereo album mix with the 27 Esher Demos.
Standard 2LP Vinyl: The BEATLES (‘White Album’) 2018 stereo mix 180-gram 2LP vinyl in gatefold sleeve with faithfully replicated original artwork. ———————————————— In addition, on December 7th, Paul’s 1972 WILD LIFE and 1973’s RED ROSE SPEEDWAY were re-released in archive form. The 11-disc Paul McCartney and Wings 1971–73 numbered limited edition “super deluxe” compilation features not only the entire contents of the Wild Life 4-disc numbered limited deluxe edition and of the Red Rose Speedway 6-disc numbered limited deluxe edition – but also the exclusive live album, Wings Over Europe.
The collection features 20 previously unreleased, newly mixed live tracks recorded over the course of 5 shows, an introduction featuring Paul recounting memories of the 1972 tour, a 96-page photo book including previously unreleased images by Linda McCartney and Captain Snap, a replica of the 1972 Wings Over Europe tour program, and access to downloadable 24/96kHz unlimited high-resolution audio versions.
PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS: WINGS 1971-73Paul McCartney Archive Collection Limited Super Deluxe EditionBoth Wild Life and Red Rose Speedway Limited Deluxe Editions, plus: Exclusive and numbered edition, 7-color screen print on corrugated board. Exclusive Wings Over Europe 96-page photo book with screenprinted cover. Facsimile of the Wings Over Europe 1972 European tour program.Brand new stereo mix of tracks played on the 1972 tour on CD.
These two archive were also available as individual releases…
WILD LIFE was available in the following formats:
Limited Deluxe Edition
Numbered heavy weight kraft board slipcase. Cover silkscreen printed.
128-page essay book written by David Fricke.
Folio containing; 48-page facsimile notebook, 12 replica medium format Polaroid pictures, plus ‘The Ball’ album launch party invite.
CD portfolio containing 3CDs & 1DVD.
WILD LIFE will also available on:
2CD – Special Edition
2LP – 180 Gram vinyl with MP3 download card
Digital Download/Streaming – Standard & Special Edition
RED ROSE SPEEDWAY was available in the following formats:
Limited Deluxe Edition: A Numbered edition, color printed silver metal board slipcase.
A 28-page essay book written by Amanda Petrusich. Including 5 replica handwritten lyric sheets, and a photo print. A 64-page Wings Over Morocco photo book.
The Bruce McMouse Show folio containing; 14 replica hand-drawn sketches by Paul McCartney, facsimile dialogue sheets and the unreleased film restored and remixed on DVD and 5.1 HD Blu-Ray.
CD portfolio containing 3CDs & 1DVD.
2 CD – Special Edition
2 LP – 180 Gram vinyl with MP3 download card
Digital Download/Streaming – Standard & Special Edition
A 2LP recreation of the Red Rose Speedway original “Double Album” on 2LP – 180 Gram vinyl with MP3 download card.
And, since Pau’s fans MUST have unlimited cash to re-spend on things already owned the following albums were re-released in limited colors.
WINGS GREATEST (blue) THRILLINGTON (marbled red/black) NEW (pink) CHAOS AND CREATION IN THE BACKYARD (gold)
Paul was active in 2018 outside go the studio. He was in the audience on January 16th, at Stella McCartney’s Autumn Winter presentation at SIR Studios in Los Angeles.
“A semi-historical music location in L.A. is somewhere I feel very at home. It’s very natural for us to have parties in L.A. All my friends seem to have moved here.” – Stella
Although Stella said she wasn’t sure whether her father had ever made use of the SIR Studios facilities at Wilcox Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.
The fashion designer dubbed the event, which included clusters of collection-clad models flanking the performance stage and scattered throughout SIR Studios, a “Stella-bration,” but it was so full of musical talent — on- and off-stage — that one of our fellow fashion journalists more accurately described it as “Stella-chella.”
In addition to sets by Bridges and Grimes, the presentation-turned-party included the musical stylings of BØRNS, St. Vincent and Beck, who performed a handful of songs (several backed by a 10-member choir) before closing out the night with an enthusiastic version of “Where It’s At.”
The performance that had everyone on their feet and waving their cellphones in the air came from a Beatles cover band called Dr. Pepper and the Jaded Hearts Club Band (whose members include Muse’s Matt Bellamy and Dom Howard), which performed a blistering set that started with “I Saw Her Standing There” and ended with “Helter Skelter,” both of which had the Paul up onstage and singing along.
Spotted taking in that spectacle in front of the stage was Goldie Hawn and daughter Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton, Paris Jackson, Selma Blair, Amy Poehler, Katy Perry, U2’s the Edge, Emma Roberts, Ringo Starr, Christina Aguilera and James Corden.
Paul spent June 9, 2018 in Liverpool along with English television host James Corden, filming an instance of Corden’s show “Carpool Karaoke”.
The day ended with a surprise gig at the Philharmonic Dining Rooms pub, where Sir Paul debuted an upbeat new song, “Come On To Me“, which would be formally announced and released on June 20, 2018.
As rumors swirled online regarding a new album release around this time period one day on his website Paul posted a strange symbol….
The rumor mill was at full speed…
Friday came and went without the new Paul McCartney album a television report said was headed our way, but the Beatles legend continues to drop hints that something big may be announced soon. This morning, that included tweeting out an image that looks an awful lot like an album cover, featuring what appears to be a red ticket on a yellow background with his name and the letters “N.B.P.” on it. McCartney had been hinting at at releasing new music this year, mentioning on his website in January that he was “putting the finishing touches” on a new album.
Interest was once again piqued earlier this week when McCartney was announced to appear on CBS’s The Late Late Show this week, singing with host James Corden and showing him Beatles-related landmarks in Liverpool, U.K., as part of the popular “Carpool Karaoke” segment.
Footage eventually emerged of the Fab One debuting a brand new song called “Come Home to You” during a recent surprise show at a small pub in Liverpool. “This hasn’t been released yet. … It’s the first time we played it for anybody,” McCartney says before he and his band count into the appealingly choppy rocker.
McCartney also tweeted daily photos from a recording studio, theoretically taken during recording sessions for the new album. He also tweeted a curious drawing, which turns up on either side of the “ticket” on this new image.]
Days later it would be announced… a new double single to be released followed by a new album. On September 7th, EGYPT STATION was released……..with another tour, “Freshen Up,” to start on September 18.
Another busy year for Paul, both in and out of the recording studio.
Paul started work early in the year on what would be his next studio album in 2018.
Paul helped out Ringo in Los Angeles in February, while both were working on their own albums. He assisted Ringo on two tracks from his 2017 album, GIVE MORE LOVE. These tracks were “We’re On The Road Again” and “Show Me The Way.”
“They talk when they’re both in L.A. Ringo just asked him, ‘Look, I’m doing an album. Could you play on it?’ And Paul was so nice. He came by on his day off on a Sunday. And he worked hard, too. Those weren’t easy songs he played on. The bass on the ballad ‘Show Me the Way’ … that’s a difficult ballad. So he had to work on that a bit. We definitely put him through his paces. But the guy’s the greatest. (He’s) humble. He came in to help his friend on a Sunday when he had his day off. What else can you say?
I think (Paul) was initially a little taken back by what Lukather wrote. It’s a little more sophisticated than some of the stuff Ringo’s done in the past. I think Paul was looking at and listening to it. He doesn’t read charts. He has his own notation. […] I’ve brought that up to Ringo. ‘I can’t believe Paul doesn’t read charts.’ He goes, ‘We’re all buskers.’ They just played, just played by ear. -Bruce Sugar, engineer. ————————————————— The Archive Collection saw its most ambitious release on March 24th. The 1989 FLOWERS IN THE DIRT came out in a 2CD SPECIAL EDITION, 2LP VINYL AND 3CD+DVD DELUXE EDITION BOX SET FEATURING PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED DEMOS, UNSEEN ARCHIVAL VIDEO, NOTEBOOK OF PAUL’S HANDWRITTEN LYRICS AND NOTES, LINDA McCARTNEY FLOWERS IN THE DIRT EXHIBITION CATALOGUE, 112-PAGE HARDCOVER BOOK. DOCUMENTING THE MAKING OF THE ALBUM AND MORE…
Paul also helped out the Foo Fighters, playing on their CONCRETE AND GOLD album. Paul was again in L.A. that March/April working with producer Greg Kurstin, who also producing the album for The Foo Fighters at the same time. Paul played drums on “Sunday Rain.”
“You don’t generally think of him as a drummer,” the Foo’s drummer Taylor Hawkins (who sang on the track) says. “But he laid that track so fucking effortlessly. He never even heard the song – Dave kind of explained it to him with an acoustic guitar. And he was like, ‘Yeah, yeah. I think I know what you’re doing.’
McCartney played two takes; they used the first. “He was so fucking good,” Grohl says. “We played for an hour, then took a break and had bagels and tea.
I thought we were done – I didn’t want to rag him out – so I was out having a cig, and someone goes, ‘Hey, Paul wants to jam some more.’ He rounded everybody up, and we jammed for hours: ‘Let’s write some songs, man!’ “Well, you know,” says McCartney. “Once you get the meter running…”
The band got together around this time (mid-April) and rehearsed for the upcoming Japan Leg of the “One On One” tour. They played 5 shows in Japan, then returned for another North American leg on July 7th in Miami. I saw him for the last time on July 10th at Amalie Arena in Tampa. The show was very familiar to past tours , always excellent, but now had become too expensive for me.
I will always have memories of all eight concerts in my heart.
They took a break after the July 26th show in Hollywood, and resumed in early September and October in the North East. A second latin America leg lasted from October 12th until October 28th. The Tour ended after the Oceanian leg, which stretched from November 30th in Perth, Australia, and ended December 16th in Auckland, New Zealand.
And in the middle of all this he worked on his new album as well as the mixing the next set of the archive collection albums (WILD LIFE/RED ROSE SPEEDWAY) for 2018 release.
Speaking of releases, May 26th saw 50th anniversary release of SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND, as part of new box sets. Presented with New Mixes in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Audio; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings, Video Features & Special Packaging, Previously Unreleased 1992 Documentary Film, ‘The Making of Sgt. Pepper,’ Restored for Anniversary Edition’s Super Deluxe Boxed Set.
“Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” were reissued as a 7” single (and included as the final tracks on the original album to minor controversy)
And the re-releases kept flowing on November 7th. The following albums were re-released as limited edition color vinyl. This would open up eyes for Paul, and now has become common for his next three album releases, much to my wallets chagrin.
BAND ON THE RUN (white) McCARTNEY I (red) McCARTNEY II (clear) PIPES OF PEACE (silver) RAM (yellow) TUG OF WAR (blue) VENUS AND MARS (red and yellow) WINGS AT THE SPEED OF SOUND (orange)
As fans and collectors, it has become quite daunting. But nothing like we will see in the next few years.
Some special moments of 2017 had Paul and Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen took to the stage together at Madison Square Garden on September 15th for a NY take-over!
They performed ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ not once… but twice! And if that wasn’t cool enough, Paul joined Springsteen’s guitarist Stevie Van Zandt on stage on November 4th at The Roundhouse in London to welcome him to the UK!
Finally in 2017, May 26th saw the film “Pirates Of The Caribbean,” dead men tell no tales. The film included a cameo from Sir Paul.
“Well we really wanted him in a movie. Keith Richards was part of the previous ones and we really loved that, but he couldn’t make it because of a tour. So we made a very short list of people who we wanted in this one, and Sir Paul was at the very top of that list. Johnny Depp has his number so he just simply texted him. They texted back and forth and we were a little bit a part of that, and their lingo got more and more pirate-y. That was just amazing and then we had a few days of shooting in Vancouver so we could fit that into the schedule for everybody. He came and it was just an amazing shoot.” – Aspen Sandberg, co-director.
“Yeah, I’m loving it. [Johnny Depp] got me a lot of favors in the past. He’s been in some of my music videos. So you know, it’s a way of repaying him. My character is Jack’s uncle who he was named after and I’m an old pirate awaiting execution just like he is. It runs in the family, I’m afraid to say. I started telling him about my Liverpool relatives and I told him a few stories and that he (his Uncle Jack) always used to tell jokes. Jack was the family joke teller. And then last night before filming, we had a little meeting, a little bit to eat, a bit of wine, and it kicked it around. Johnny come up with a load of ideas.
I spun off it and I thought “okay, he’s going to bed, he must be tired and everything”. Well, he typed the whole thing up and he had it all as a script this morning, very impressed.” – Paul
Much like 2015, Paul spent most the entire year outside of the recording studio. More than likely he was still writing many new songs behind the scenes.
One song, “In The Blink Of An Eye,” was written and recorded for the animated film, “Ethel &Ernest.”
The film is based on the 1998 graphic memoir of the same name written by Raymond Briggs, and follows Briggs’ parents, Ethel and Ernest, through their period of marriage from the 1920s to their deaths in the 1970s. McCartney’s song plays over the end credits of the film.
“I knew that Paul McCartney was a big animation fan and I knew that Raymond Briggs’s book Fungus the Bogeyman had influenced Paul’s 1980s track, “Bogey Music.” So I wrote a letter to Paul to see if he was interested in composing a track for Ethel and Ernest, which he did on Fungus the Bogeyman headed paper!
It obviously worked and we were thrilled when Paul said he was interested. We met up and he produced a CD which included a track called Mum and Dad theme. This eventually became In the Blink of An Eye which we have used in the film. – Roger Mainwood, director.
It is probable that he also worked on new material, which would see the light of day in 2018, at both Henson Studios and at his Hog Hill Mill studio.
He also wrote the song “Songbird In A Cage,” for Charlotte Gainsbourg. It would appear on the 2017 album, REST. Paul also played drums, guitar and piano.
He also recorded and released a range of ten animated love theme Mojis for Valentine’s Day, partnering with Skype.
“It turned out to be a great laugh at the same time as challenging because you suddenly realize you’ve got to compress a musical interpretation of an expression into less than five seconds. It was like doing a huge crossword puzzle and coming up with all these solutions. And at the same time it was musical so it was great practice for me in the studio.”- Paul
In March and April, he reunited with his band for “One On One” tour rehearsals. These legs of the tour would feature 35 shows in 9 countries, (headlining summer festivals in Belgium and The Netherlands) and ending on December 16th.
June 25th saw him headline a 14 track show at the 10th annual Dine and Disco for Children In Need. 80 auction winners raised over 2 million pounds.
He co-headlined the Saturday October 8th night of Desert Trip (with Neil Young).
December 20th had Paul back in New York, appearing on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, Paul McCartney and the cast of “Sing” teamed up Tuesday night for an acappella version of McCartney’s song “Wonderful Christmastime” complete with “bum-bums,” “da-da-das” and plenty of holiday cheer.
The video, shot in a “Brady Bunch”-style colorful split over a snowy backdrop, opens with Fallon and the Roots and gradually adds more voices and characters.
And he performed “Helter Skelter” at a private New Years Eve party. Russia’s Roman Abramovich’s exclusive New Year’s Eve party on the Caribbean island of St. Barts saw Paul McCartney join The Killers onstage for a surprise performance.
2016 in addition saw the release of Ron Howard directed, “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week- The Touring Years.”
A limited Limited 12” test pressings of the Timo Mass remix of “1985,”the closer on Paul’s 1973 BAND ON THE RUN. It sold out in hours, and it went straight to number one in the record shops stocking them.
The 1968 album, McGough & McGear was remastered in 2016. The album was produced by Paul. The 1968 John and Paul produced track, “Lullaby” appeared on the 2016 compilation of the British group, Grapefruit.
The compilation PURE McCARTNEY was also released in 2016, containing 67 highlight tracks. It appeared as regular and deluxe editions.
LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL, the remastered 1977 album of the 1965 recorded concert by The Beatles was released on September 9th. It was remastered and produced by Giles Martin.
“A few years ago Capitol Studios called saying they’d discovered some Hollywood Bowl three track tapes in their archive. We transferred them and noticed an improvement over the tapes we’ve kept in the London archive. Alongside this I’d been working for some time with a team headed by technical engineer James Clarke on demix technology, the ability to remove and separate sounds from a single track.
With Sam Okell, I started work on remixing the Hollywood Bowl tapes. Technology has moved on since my father worked on the material all those years ago. Now there’s improved clarity, and so the immediacy and visceral excitement can be heard like never before. My father’s words still ring true, but what we hear now is the raw energy of four lads playing together to a crowd that loved them. This is the closest you can get to being at the Hollywood Bowl at the height of Beatlemania. We hope you enjoy the show…” – Giles Martin
Finally all three Beatles “Anthology” disc sets were remastered in 2016.
Paul didn’t spend much time in the recording studio in 2015, instead most was spent touring or working on other projects.
February of that year saw him record a song for his upcoming “High In The Clouds” animated film. This film has yet to come out as of the end of 2021, but is still a viable project which we hope to see in the next year or so.
“I’m getting involved in an animated feature film. That’s my focus at the moment. It’s the same kind of thing, and again I get to write to some sort of specification in my own mind. One of the first things in this film is a female rock star who runs this animal city – it sounds crazy – so I have to write her number. It had to be one in which she gets everyone in her power, so it needed to be a good soul number. I had fun doing that and I’ll be recording that next year with a female singer.”
That singer was “Lady Gaga”, and the session was produced by Greg Kurstin, who would again work with Paul three years after this on his album, EGYPT STATION. So cross your fingers, and maybe someday we will hear/see the results of this. By May of 2015, he announced he had written seven or eight songs for the film.
March 2nd-30th saw Paul and Steve Orchard remixing the 1982 TUG OF WAR album, for its archive release. This is the first of the archives that was totally remixed, rather than remastered.
Besides some studio rehearsals for the Japanese and European legs of the “Out There” tour, that was it. —————————————————
All of the songs that Paul worked on with others in 2014 came out as singles for Kanye West and Rihanna and The Hollywood Vampires in 2015.
He also contributed to Diana Krall’s WILDFLOWER album, as she recorded his song, “If I Take You Home Tonight.” ————————————————— The “Out There” tour continued until October 22nd. 2015’s legs consisted of Japan/Korea in April, Europe in May and June, and finishing in the US in June and October.
In addition, Paul and his band headlined The Firefly, Lollapalooza and Rosklide festivals that summer. ————————————————- October 2nd saw the release of both TUG OF WAR/PIPES OF PEACE album archive sets. Both were issued in various formats and price ranges, with the deluxe versions including DVD’s and books in their box sets. For the first time, a Vinyl exclusive at barnes and Noble was issued.
This would be the start of very limited vinyl releases of McCartney albums, with each variation owning a special color or pattern which is quite maddening and very expensive for Paul fans. There are 50th editions coming out now, half-speed masters of releases which had been archived just in the same last few years.
NEW (from 2014) would come out in 2016 with deluxe vinyl versions, as did 2018’s EGYPT STATION, and 2021’s 3IMAGINED (the follow up to 2020’s McCARTNEY3, just months after their initial release). ————————————————— “Say Say Say” was reissued as a single in conjunction with the “Pipes” archive. ————————————————— Beatles related, Paul inducted Ringo into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in February.
He also contributed art work, for the Grammy Signature book auction for MusiCares and a video for Stevie Wonder’s Grammy Salute.
————————————————- February 22nd saw Paul win Pollstar Concert Industry “Major Tour of The Year” award for 2014.
He received the PRS award on the 50th anniversary of his writing “Yesterday.” Robert Ashcroft CEO, PRS for Music also commented that, “Yesterday is not just an iconic song in Paul’s body of work but an iconic song of the last century. PRS has collected rights for the composition since it was released fifty years ago and in that time it has inspired countless writers, been covered by countless artists and has resonated with musicians, radio broadcasters and the public in a way that goes beyond words. It is this ‘magic’ that PRS wanted to recognize in this unique award.” ———————————————— He again gave a master class in songwriting at LIPA and attended the graduation ceremony on July 28th.
He protested AGAINST fox hunting, spoke up FOR Meat Free Monday and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Day. ————————————————- He made a cameo on the Netflix BoJack Horseman (season 2, episode 4) animated sitcom on July 17th.
In the episode, Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) throws his wife Diane (Alison Brie) a surprise party, despite the fact that she hates both surprises and parties. The party is immediately ruined after they get into a big fight. Throughout the episode, it’s hinted that Paul McCartney is hiding inside a giant birthday cake. Throughout the entire episode a potential McCartney appearance is teased, but you don’t think much of it.
Then in the episode’s final moments, long after the party ended, McCartney actually bursts out of the cake, but no no one’s around to see or know he was there. ————————————————- A handmade Stevenson Brothers rocking horse signed by Paul McCartney was auctioned on eBay, from November 19 to November 29, 2015. It raised £8,300 for the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
Paul also contributed to Refugee Auction.
A treasure trove of collectible items gathered from famous musicians, actors and artists for an eBay auction to benefit refugees affected by the brutal Syrian conflict. Bidding was from November 26th to December 6th, with all funds raised going to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Paul’s personal donation from included a jewelry box, vinyl, CDs, Linda McCartney poster of The Beatles, and a selection of books.
Linda and Mary McCartney’s “Mother Daughter” photos exhibition was in New York from November 20th till December 6th.
Finally, The Beatles 1 album was re-released as 1+, and included a DVD of all their music video’s.
And really finally The Beatles music catalog was made available on all streaming platforms on December 24th. Merry Christmas and it was about time….
Paul did spend some time in the studio, but in 2014 it was to help others. He worked with former bandmate (Lead guitarist in Wings II), Henry McCulloch’s album, BALLYWONDERLAND. The track he helped out on was “Live Long Rock & Roll.”
In January, to celebrate the Beatles’ 50th anniversary of their first trip to America, the Beatles U.S. albums were reissued in a boxset (later during the year, another boxset called “The Japan Box” would be released as well).
Early 2014 saw him work for the first time with Kanye West. He would again work with him in September of 2014.
Three songs were released with Paul’s varying degrees of help. The album ONLY ONE, released on December 31st had Paul on organ and production of “Only One” single. Paul is also listed as one of SIX co-writers.
“FourFiveSeconds,” a January 2015 single by Rihanna. Paul is listed as acoustic guitar and co-producer. He is also one of NINE listed co-writers.
March of 2015 saw “All Day,” of the album of the same title. Paul plays guitar, whistles and background vocals. He is also one of SEVENTEEN listed co-writers.
Even in 2014-15, Paul still yearned to be relevant with younger audiences, and working with red hot artists, much like he used producers.
————————————————————————————– January 25th, in Los Angeles, at the 56th Grammy Awards, Paul was nominated for and WON all five awards, and he performed as well.
“Best Rock Song” for “Cut Me Some Slack” which he co-wrote with Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear (the documentary “Sound City: Reel to Real” featuring Paul McCartney also won the Best Compilation Soundtrack).
“Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package” for the 2013 “Wings Over America” re-issue.
“Best Surround Sound Album” for “Live Kisses“.
“Best Music Film” for “Live Kisses“.
The Beatles had received the “Recording Academy Lifetime Achievement Award“ the night before.
Paul was joined on stage by Ringo Starr to perform “Queenie Eye“, from the “NEW” album.
The day after the Grammy Awards, a special event “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute to The Beatles” was held, with the participation, again, of Paul and Ringo. This was broadcast on February 9th.
Paul McCartney arrived in Japan for his new leg of the “Out There” tour, on May 15.
Unfortunately, a few days after his arrival, it was reported that McCartney had been bedridden by an unspecified virus on doctor’s orders. At first, concerts were postponed; but in the end, the entire Asian leg of the tour had to be cancelled, as well as some US dates scheduled in June. McCartney would return to Japan and Korea, in April 2015.
I remember at the time “fearing” that this could end up much worse than rescheduling concert dates. But Paul pulled through and thankfully no health scares since then.
“Meat Free Monday” celebrated it’s five year mark on June 16th, with Paul writing a new song, which featured fans contributing to the music video.
Mid June of 2014 saw him hook up the Hollywood Vampires, on their self titled album, on his 1969 written, “Come And Get it.”
According to band member Joe Perry (Aerosmith): “We were really grateful to have him come in and cut the track. I mean, for all of us, it was like, ‘Holy shit, we’re actually doing a session with Paul McCartney….I mean, talk about an ego leveler.”
Perry added that during the session, which was done live in the studio, he, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper “were looking at each other like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.’”
Like many other musicians who grew up during the 1960s, Perry credited The Beatles with inspiring his career path. “I remember watching them on Ed Sullivan when I was 14…I mean, that why I’m doing what I’m doing today.
And to have [McCartney] just strolling in like any [of the] other cats that played on [the album] was really amazing. I still can’t believe it. Getting to play it live with the guy who wrote it, and a Beatle was, like, stunning.”
Mid June of 2014also had Paul and his band rehearsing for the next leg of their “Out There!” world tour. In 2014 he would perform thirty six shows in seven countries.
“A Hard Days Night” 50th anniversary included a release on DBD and Blu-Ray on June 24th in the US. July 4th saw it open in select US theaters in honor. July 21st, it was released in Europe.
July 28th saw the next set of Archive Releases. This year it was VENUS AND MARS and AT THE SPEED OF SOUND. Both albums were available in a variety of physical and digital formats, including Standard Editions (2 disc CD’s), Deluxe (3 disc, 2 CD’s/1 DVD) with books, Vinyl and Digital. At this point vinyl was just special gate fold editions, and only in black.
He attended LIPA’s 2014 graduation ceremony.
He signed a guitar used to raise money to help elephants. Starting August 13, 2014, the auction for a Martin guitar started. The auction ended on August 24, and the proceeds went to the Nature Conservancy’s African Elephant Initiative.
“To have Sir Paul’s support and working with Martin Guitar is a real honor. This caliber of collaboration will make a difference to help end the worst poaching crisis in history.”
August 16th had Paul appear again at the 5th “Apollo in the Hamptons” benefit concert. Paul danced onstage and sang with an all-star cast that included Jamie Foxx, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at the fundraiser for the Apollo Theater. The event also included performances by Gladys Knight, Jon Bon Jovi, Sting, The Roots and Pharrell Williams.
The DESTINY ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK was released on September 26th, with a single pulled from it, “Hope For The Future.”
“Hope For The Future” was produced by Giles Martin, son of George. First tracks were laid down in 2012 at Hog Hill Mill studio, before further recording took place at Avatar Studio in September 2012.
Some orchestral and choral overdubs were also added at Abbey Road Studios in late November 2012. Credit details also mentioned some work at AIR Studios
November 7th saw Paul, and Carrie Underwood star at a private concert From Paul McCartney, Carrie Underwood Star At billionaire Ron Baron’s (forbes.com) Investment Conference. Over 4000 investors from across the country and abroad convened at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. The highly-anticipated annual conference, in its 23rd year, is famous not just for big-name CEO speakers but also superstar performers who remain a surprise until the moment they take stage.
Paul instantly fired up the audience in the opera house when he appeared. “I love you Paul!” One investor jumped up from her seat and screamed the moment McCartney appeared.
On November 20th Paul collaborated with a company name Jaunt, using its virtual reality technology to provide an immersive experience of his recent concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. He would work again with Jaunt in 2018 for the “Pure McCartney VR” Documentary Series.
From Jaunt: Completely immersive VR footage of Paul’s Historic Candlestick Park concert ready for download. Earlier this year Paul made history when he performed the last concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park, the very same stadium that saw The Beatles last public concert 48 years ago, almost to the day. A new app launched today by Jaunt allows fans to relive the magic of that night—more accurately experience it for the first time in a completely immersive 360-degree virtual environment offering access to Paul like never before: the Jaunt VR app puts you right there in the crowd, onstage, backstage, or even right by Paul’s side in the midst of the climactic pyro, as he performs ‘Live and Let Die’ live at Candlestick.
Finally, in December, Ringo Starr first learned he was receiving the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Award for Musical Excellence when Paul McCartney called him up about two weeks ago. “He said, ‘Would you accept the award?’” Starr says. “I said, ‘Sure, man.’ He said he’d been talking to Dave Grohl and other people and they were stunned that I wasn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he needed something to do that night and he’s going to give me the award.”
Besides NEW, 2013 saw the May 27th release of the archive edition of WINGS OVER AMERICA.
The live album which documented the band’s triumphant 1976 tour across North America has been reissued with a four-book, four-disc (3CD, 1DVD) Deluxe Edition Box Set.
The box set’s superior audio and video include the two-disc ‘Wings over America’ album remastered at Abbey Road, a bonus audio disc recorded live at San Francisco’s Cow Palace, a bonus DVD containing the rarely seen 75-minute television special ‘Wings over the World’ and the photo gallery montage entitled ‘Photographer’s Pass’.
The Deluxe Edition Box Set contains four exquisitely rendered art books packaged with an incredible array of exclusive memorabilia, souvenirs, mementos, keepsakes and never-before-seen photos and art work from this tour.
The110-page commemorative tour book beautifully recounts the behind-the-scenes drama through dozens of live performances and backstage photos along with new interviews and liner notes. The ‘Wings over America’ leatherette-bound ‘Tour Itinerary’ contains extravagant memorabilia including printed 8X10 glossy band photos, a backstage guest pass, facsimiles of the invitation to the infamous end-of-tour party at the Harold Lloyd Estate in Beverly Hills along with ‘Wings over America’ concert tickets, original album artwork, tour posters, set lists, lyrics, press materials and much more.
‘Look!’, the box set’s warm and intimate book of Linda McCartney photography features Paul and the band in their everyday life as they made their way across the country in the spring of ’76. Lastly, the set contains ‘The Ocean View’ an extraordinary hardbound compendium of drawings and sketches by artist Humphrey Ocean that captures the band on tour in relaxed and revealing ways. A striking artistic achievement in and of itself, the audacious ‘Wings over America’ Deluxe Edition Box Set is a must have for any McCartney enthusiast.
November 13th saw both the release of Live At The BBC in remastered form, as well as a second edition, On Air- Live At the BBC Volume 2.
The Beatles BOOTLEG RECORDINGS 1963 on December 17th. At the time, Apple did not attempt to put together a 50th anniversary box set for any of the original Beatles albums, until the 2017 Sgt. Pepper set. Instead, they put out this, which was a compilation album of 59 recordings, released exclusively through the iTunes Store.
The compilation was released worldwide in order to prevent recordings made by the Beatles in 1963 from legally entering the public domain in Europe due to revised copyright laws.
Paul also recorded and released a few other songs in 2013, which were released as b-sides and bonus tracks on singles pulled and deluxe versions of NEW.
“Struggle” One of the four songs written by Paul McCartney and producer Paul Epworth, and released as a bonus track of the Japanese version of the album.
A drone beat is layer with Paul’s falsetto. Interesting track with layers and layers of spoken/sung lyrics. Lots of twists and turns. Rating – 7.5
“Turned Out” From the Deluxe edition of “NEW.” It is one the four songs from the “NEW” sessions produced by Ethan Johns.
A nice little pop ditty, that Paul is so good at. Great double tracked vocals and a wonderful I’m headed out of town beat. Paul slows the middle eight before lurching back in the ending. Paul’s voice is really strong and I’m wondering why there was no room on New for this overlooked gem. Rating – 8.5
“Demons Dance” ‘Demons Dance’? “Lord knows what that’s about!…” -Paul
A quirky little number, it’s piano leading the track sounding like the coda on “Rock Show.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song like this from Paul before. Very spiritual in tone and feel, and I guess this is appropriate for the song’s title. Rating – 8
“Get Me Out Of Here”
Paul plays a Ngoni, an African instrument he was given when performing with Africa Express on September 2012.
“So I took it in the studio the next day. We had this track and I used this instrument. It made this great (rhythmic) noise. Luckily the strings on it fitted exactly with the bass part. Well, it became the bass part. Yeah, that was just one of those things. It just fitted really nicely.”
A soulful bluesy bouncy track with Paul’s processed vocals perfect for the song. Acoustic driven, perfect production. Paul even mocks the British reality show, “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” in the lyrics. Love the backing chorus singing “Oh boy, someone get me out of here!”
“Hell To Pay” Officially released in October 2014 as part of the Collector’s Edition of NEW. “‘Hell to Pay’ is about someone who doesn’t give back and so there’ll be hell to pay one day.”- Paul
-Piano driven and another wonderfully produced rocker. Paul stretches out with a howling ending. It really sounds sweet, but lacks the hooks that could have made it special. Rating – 7
Released on October 13th, 2013, NEW is striking with its simple. It has colored light bars fixtures to spell or at least make you think you see the title. The Japanese and expanded editions were released in alternate colors.
It’s simplicity, combined with its feeling of optimism had me crossing my fingers as I placed the disc in the player back in the day.
Today, it’s the “deluxe edition” under headphones and we’ll see how the mixing of Paul and four different young producers turns out eight years later.
My initial reaction back in the day was this.
Sound wise, it’s a wonderful album, as each of the four producers bring fresh ideas on each songs musical landscape.
But back in October of 2013, I felt the album lacked a wholeness that some of his previous has had. It felt in total as if it were a playlist of songs put in a certain order and called an album.
It is also the first of his studio albums to show that his voice had begun to age. It was clear in concert, and on some of his live albums, but this is the first time on a new release. It was a bit of a shock at the time…. My Paul was getting old…. And the changes in his voice continue to this day. The man is almost 80 years old, and so many years of various smokes, drink and nights on the road eventually pay a price.
But now I accept any offering this man gives me, and maybe I will reevaluate the release differently today. In fact on a few of the songs, the producer would not let him do a vocal retake as the initial attempt showed his vulnerability and realness.
“Save Us” (McCartney/Epworth)
“On this occasion with Save Us, Paul (Epworth) just had that idea so I just ran along with it. We got a backing cooking, I put some bass on it and I put a guitar on it and so it sounded like what you hear on the record. And then the thing was ‘Well, what song is this?’ So I started mumbling and blocking out words ‘What did I just sing?’ You just pull words and I just scribbled some stuff down. So that one was very organic and wrote itself over a few hours.”- Paul
A very nice album opener. The track, like all of the album is lush and even though Paul’s vocals are slightly buried in the mix. A couple of listens to this track really brought it home. Rating – 8
“Alligator” Mark Ronson produced and recorded with his band.
‘I had a few weeks when I settled in a regular system. What I would do is, I’d take my little girl to school, my youngest daughter and then I’d come back, and I’d have some time before I would have to go and pick her up again. So, I’d just come home get myself a cup of green tea and sit with my guitar or piano. On “Alligator” I wanted to feel Zen.
I was messing around and I started getting the idea: “I need someone to come home to. I need a place I can rest”. I knew that in about 3 or 4-hours’ time after I started I’d be ringing Nancy, who was in New York, and I knew I’d wake her up. It was about 12 o’clock, it was 7 o’clock for her. So this gave me a motivation to write something and ring her up and say: ‘Morning, baby. You wanna hear a song?’-Paul
This is another that took a new listen for me to appreciate it. The middle eight falsetto, once a bit odd, now sounds perfect. Lots of layers of swirling background sounds and vocals and guitar riffs. Rating – 7.5
“On My Way To Work” Giles Martin produced and recorded with the band. “In the case of this new song I was flicking through an art catalogue and I saw a work by Damien Hirst, the young British artist. I saw one of his pictures and I looked for the title. It said ‘On My Way To Work’. And that intrigued me, I thought that’s a great title. It’s very mundane, but it says a lot. And everyone is going to be able to identify cause everyone is often on their way to work. So I thought what does that mean to me?
The jobs I had before the Beatles would involve getting up early in the morning and going on a bus and the kind of buses we had were green double-deckers. So I started there on that journey and then just other memories came flooding in.
One of the interesting things was in the chorus of that song, where I move away from the narrative, to just sort of something more to do with what I was thinking at that age was ‘How am I ever going to meet the ideal partner?’ Because there’s billions of people out there. ‘How am I ever going to run into the right one?’ And it was quite a disturbing thought to me at the time. And so I used that in the song to move away from the storyline. ‘But all the time I thought of you, How far away the future seemed. How can I have so many dreams without one of them coming true?’ So all of these things come into your mind. You’ve got a guitar, you start putting some chords to it. Write down the lyrics as you go. And then you’ve got a song. I was playing this to a friend of mine, I know Johnny Depp quite well, I was playing this to him and another friend – Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters as these guys were listening to some early playbacks.
And Johnny is listening to this and says ‘I’m glad you got Chichester in there’. And I was very glad myself because it’s a nice rhythm and it’s kind of a funny town, there’s a little bit of humor in it. ‘She came from Chichester to study history, she had removed her clothes for the likes of me.’
One of the now more frequent songs Paul wrote that dealt with youth, the past, growing up and looking back. A very common thing for creatives as they age. A lovely performance by all concerned. Rating – 8
“Now this song, Queenie Eye, is based on a game we used to play when I was kids. You got to remember that’s a long time ago and basically in kind of a poor area I was from. What you did you entertain yourself was go out in the street and play street games. There wasn’t that much traffic, so you were pretty safe. And one of the games was called Queenie Eye.” -Paul
A very interesting music video for this one. I think that this might have been a hit for Paul way back in the day. The middle break, reminded me of the middle break in “With A Little Luck,” very nice, but sadly takes away any radio friendliness. Still, lots of interesting things going on in the mix. Rating – 8
“Early Days” When I was working with Ethan Johns on this album, I brought him a couple of acoustic songs. He said: ‘Just come down to the studio. Just go down there and play it.’ So I did that, we did a take and he says: ‘That’s great!’ So I came back up and I said: ‘A bit of the vocal is a bit wobbly, I’m sure I can sing that a bit better.’ He said: ‘But it’s you! It’s vulnerable, and it sounds really true to life.’ And we left it, and people have said to me: ‘Oh, I like that track.’
Another song Paul did a music video for. The voice at times is vulnerable, yes, and Ethan Johns was right. Our precious Paul with his tender slightly fragile old man voice now proudly told of how HE was the one would say what, when and how things happened during his Beatles days. A closer re-listen made this special. Rating – 9
“New” It was a late night, and I was at home in London and I got my dad’s old piano that used to be at our house in Liverpool. It’s a great sound and obviously the whole vibe, because it was my dad’s. I played it as a kid, and he played it, it’s a nice instrument to play. So I just came up with that.
And pretty much just wrote what you hear in the song, except for the third verses and the middle 8 and things, but it kind of wrote itself. When you do that, that’s going to be you. That one didn’t feel like it needed much. And I brought it to Mark [Ronson] and we kind of got on with it. Tried a lot of stuff. I had a very specific piano and harpsichord mix trying to get like a hybrid sound. So we followed that. He is very receptive to ideas. And I don’t think it hurts that he was a Beatles fan.
Clearly the hit single…. If Paul was 30 years old. Any song with perfect hand-claps gets me. And the handclaps drive the rhythm. The band is amazing, with Paul, vocally taking this song and elevating it to excellent. Rating – 8.5
“Appreciate” There is a little one called Appreciate which is sort of a weird little track I mean, that was a great one to make, because we kind of layered it and built it up and at the end of it I got to play this slide guitar solo. The amp of the guitar was so hot that it kind of played itself, so I have particular memories of that.
I had a mess around on an auto-tuner. I knew all my mates would go… People I knew were going: ‘Oh, no. You can’t do that.’ Because of that, I’d never even gotten near one. But I went to see Kanye and he’s using one live, and I thought: ‘You know what, that’d be fun.’ On this Appreciate track I did some stuff, but in the end we didn’t use it. We had all these tape loop sounds that he’d brought in, and guitar loop sounds. And we started chopping it all together into this big collage, and I remember saying to him at one point, ‘We should make this into a song’, and he just gave me this look, like, ‘You’re so boring!’ Then we found this chorus that he’d done previously, over something completely different, and we spliced that together and it all just worked. That’s one of my favorite tracks on the album, I listen to it in a lot of different ways.
Right away, one of my favorites…. Fantastic production, performance (love the use of the dirty guitar), lyrics, vocals and a killer music video that Paul shares with Newman, the giant robot. Rating – 9
“Everybody Out There” I have been doing a lot of touring. I’ve been down to South America, been in North America, Europe. When you go to places, it’s a football crowd. They got their own chants. You’re hearing like 60,000 people doing this, it’s a great noise. So you come to write, then you start to think wait a minute I’ve got a little thing in here that they can sing and what if I then said ‘Everybody out there!’. Then I am connecting immediately to the audience. And then what else are you going to say.
So it was like ‘You wanna make a difference? Stand in a line, if you haven’t got any time I’ll give you some of mine.’ There’s a little message on that one.
Paul tried to write his “We Will Rock You” with this one. I think in his head he saw himself singing this, the crowd fully engaged and answering his call with a response like crazed sports fans. I saw the tour that accompanied this album and he tried and the crowd did nothing. The song itself is a nice little minor rocker, and harmless and maybe if he wrote this for “Venus and Mars” it would have happened. Rating – 7
“Hosanna” Next up was the producer Ethan Johns. “He’d done Kings of Leon records, so I knew there was an authenticity and a realness about what he did,” McCartney says. “I brought him ‘Hosanna’” – a tender, tentative acoustic ballad – “and I said, ‘I wrote this song.’ He said, ‘Why don’t you go in and sing it?’ So I did that and said, ‘Should I do it again? Should we fix it up?’ He said, ‘No, that’s beautiful the way you did it. I think that’s enough.’ I thought, ‘OK, this is the way he works: He’s gonna be very raw, he’s gonna want it to spill out, don’t think about it too much, just say it.’”
A bit of a religious feel, like the title suggests, with tons of noises and bits swirling around, backwards guitars and the like…. It just doesn’t move me much. Rating – 7
“I Can Bet” “My concern about working with Paul on “New” was that he might be jaded, that everything I ever suggested he must have done hundreds of times before. But he treats everything like it’s the first time. He’s not scared of putting a guitar through a Leslie speaker just because The Beatles did. After all, everyone else does it. There’s one on ‘New’ – I Can Bet – if you made a record without using the tricks The Beatles used, it would be complete silence. But he never looks back, and he always wants to try new things” -Giles Martin
My favorite song on the album. Paul has written a brilliant little pop classic that got buried on this album. Amazing production, and another that would have been a major hit in the 70’s. I love this song. Rating – 9
“Looking At Her”
Thick, and modern sounding. A love song that features a vocal that’s equal parts sung/spoken. Rating – 7.5
“Road” guess with that one we were aiming for something that was a little more esoteric and musically complex than the others I’d worked on. It’s like a journey. That actually started out with me on drums and him on Moog and it sounded like something by The Fall or Can.- Paul Epworth
“Road” is indeed a song that makes one think of miles passing on a journey on the road. A few odd twists and turns in the melody feel like twists and turns on the trip. The vulnerable vocals I now embrace…. The journey now heads into the light…. Rating -7.5
“Scared” (hidden track) “My song Scared is about being scared to say “I Love You” to someone.” I think particularly for guys, it’s not easy to say with conviction, so I was playing with that idea.”- Paul
A bit of a throwaway by hiding it after “Road”. On other versions of the album, this track is hidden on other songs. It is from the old school McCartney piano ballad. The sonic landscape adds depth to the whole track. A nice little track, but it leaves me feeling a bit worn and slightly empty. It makes me feel, like the car on “Road” has pulled off to the side of the side, its driver paused. Maybe not the way I would have sequenced the tracks, but who am I to change his vision? Rating – 7
Overall the album to me is good, very very good in spots, a bit less in spots, but a sold effort. The four producers still gave it a compilation feel at the end, but is this the worst thing?
What we know now in hindsight is that he would not work with these four men after this. The album was given decent reviews, but the era of the mega sales albums were over, and maybe this is why Paul went with more new hot producers on his next album in 2018. Paul still wanted to have another “Band On The Run” to maybe cap off his career. NEW, while not being this is still a good album, and a turn by Paul around the final pole, heading into his stretch run.
Overall the album grades out as 7.92/10, a fair summary of my feelings and a tad higher than I thought it would be.
Next, songs released asa bonus tracks from NEW and the rest of 2013……
2013 was another incredible year of activity and accomplishment from the approaching 71 year old mark Sir Paul McCartney.
January saw him enter the studio with son James, and the results have Paul backing him on “Thinking About Rock & Roll.” This track, produced by David Kahne appear on James 2013 album, ME.
In this time frame saw him come together with Giles Martin for the first of the NEW sessions. Giles, son of George , had worked extensively with Paul on his multiple Beatles remix projects. They worked on six tracks, all of which would see the light of day in the next year or so.
Also in this same time period Paul reunited with director Michel Gondry (“Dance Tonight” video) on recording new music (Playing bass on a few songs) for the “MOOD INDIGO” soundtrack album and film.
In February he met up for the second time with producer Paul Epworth on material for the new album. They finished three songs from the next album. Epworth is again credited as co-writer of each track.
So he is working in different directions with four producers who are interpreting each of these tracks in their own way. So the new album will sure be a buffet of ideas and sounds and I couldn’t imagine it having any threaded theme or concept. Lots of talented fingers in this pie.
Paul and Nancy attended the concert of James on March 27th. April had Paul doing overdubs and mixing the tracks he has been recording since 2012.
After some rehearsal time the next major tour for Paul and his band began on May 3rd.
Overall this tour would not officially end until October 22nd, 2015.
Over 2 1/2 years, 99 concerts in 18 countries.
Like all of Paul’s tours, there are many highlights and stories. Like the night in Goiana, Brazil (the second show of the tour) when the stage was swarmed with grasshoppers.
The Esperanca Grilo, which translates to the Hope Grasshopper, swarmed the stage, equipment, and even the band and crew during the show. McCartney even made notation of the grasshoppers during “Hey Jude”, as he sang the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder”, turning to his shoulder, singing to the grasshoppers.
This, like most tourism featured new and exciting stage and sound upgrades, which included a scissor-lift platform that carried McCartney 20 feet into the air. Not quite Kiss, but still refreshing.
Paul also was a tad flexible with the set list that changed over the 2 1/2 year tour. It would also eventually feature music he was just finishing up. Five new Beatles songs he had never sung in concert were included.
The tour pause of July gave Paul a second session with Giles Martin.
They finished three songs, and this ended the recording for the year, and for any music associated with the NEW album.
He highlighted the iHeart Music Festival in Las Vegas on September 21st. He also appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! two days later. And two days after that he played three songs for the 23rd Simply Shakespeare Benefit, in Santa Monica at The Broad Stage.
In New York on October 7th, the band played on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
Two nights later (October 9th) he played at The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Her performed to students and teachers at the Astoria, Queens school. He performed 13 songs stopping his set for friendly Q&A with students from the school. Dedicating the title track from his ‘NEW’ album to wife Nancy, Paul informed the enthusiastic audience the day was also their second wedding anniversary.
The concert took place on what would have been John Lennon’s birthday and Paul paid tribute by performing ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!’ with his band.
The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts was set up by singer Tony Bennet and his wife Susan Benedetto in 2001.
On Thursday October 10th, Paul and his band performed an impromptu concert in New York Times Square. He played on a stage fitted into a tractor tailor that pulled up at 46th Street and Broadway, by the TXS Booth. Paul appeared with his four man band, and offered songs from his new release. No Beatles or Wings songs were performed.
“You’re a lovely audience,” McCartney said before ending his 15 minute show. “Let’s do this the same time tomorrow – just kidding.
On October 11th, Paul released his next solo album. Paul said: “The original idea was to go to a couple of producers whose work I loved, to see who I got on with best – but it turned out I got on with all of them! We made something really different with each producer, so I couldn’t choose and ended up working with all four. We just had a good time in different ways.
The new album is called….. NEW. Next, the album is reviewed. Then the remaining track from this period and finally the rest of the busy year 2013.