“New” was a happy release for this Macca fanboy when it came out in 2013. I reviewed it here on Audiophilereview (click here to read that review). I really liked the album a whole bunch and the supporting tour Sir Paul and his amazing band put on was phenomenal. The only thing I was disappointed with was the quality of the vinyl pressings at the time. My aforementioned review was — I think, if I am not mistaken — based on the HDTracks download. When I eventually got the album on LP however, well, some problems ensued.
In short, the initial run was pressed sloppily and on fairly noisy vinyl — at least in my experiences; there were production anomalies gracing the album when I opened it including accumulated (likely) paper dust all over the disc, some of it damaging the grooves. I returned the album twice to Amoeba Music and, giving me a store credit they recommended I wait until a later shipment. Several months later I did pick up a cleaner copy, but I was still not completely wow’d by the pressing once I got one I could really listen to — it was not all that enticing sonics-wise, so I just sort of gave up on that front.
All that said, the new 2018 remaster / reissue is something of a revelation if only for the quiet, well centered 180-gram pressing. This new disc mastering also sounds more sympathetic to the music within, so overall it is a bit liking hearing the album with fresh ears and a new perspective. This makes me quite happy as I love the album, one of his best latter-day efforts, right up there with later period gems like Flaming Pie and Chaos and Creation in the Backyard.
Formerly sounding a bit hard edged, the new LP version of New sounds more musical and lively, delivering more of the sense of the joy from Sir Paul and his ace backing players. The piano on “Queenie Eye” feels more … well… more like what we might have heard on a late 60s Beatle recording. The acoustic guitars on tracks like “Early Days and “Everybody Out There” sound bigger and more natural. The nylon string guitar on “Looking at Her” now jumps out of the mix with a lovely round richness.
Happily for you streamers out there, McCartney’s New is up on Tidal for those of you who may have missed it (in CD quality). And for those of you who didn’t hear about the Deluxe Edition, the bonus tracks are available on Tidal in 96 kHz, 24-bit resolution; however, the main album is only available in 44.1 kHz, 16-bit quality. Go figure, but it still sounds good in a modern rock record sort of way (just go into this with realistic sonic expectations — this isn’t Abbey Road, kids!).
The only downside of the new vinyl LP reissue of New is that it no longer sports the lovely super deluxe gatefold packaging nor does it include the full color booklet which graced the original issues. So, perhaps its good that the new edition is a single disc package as I need to keep both copies (completist that I am). A minor nit to pick of course because ultimately its about how good things sound and this one sounds real good. And there is a version of New which you can get pressed on spiffy Pink vinyl if the 180-gram audiophile black isn’t your cuppa tea.
Either way, get the new New.