By Randy Lewis
12:04 PM PDT, October 18, 2013
At 71, Paul McCartney still has a few surprises up his sleeve, and he pulled one out Friday with an impromptu performance in London’s Covent Garden to promote his new album, “New.”
He’d done the same thing eight days a week earlier in Times Square in New York. Shortly before this performance, he tweeted an announcement that said, “I’m getting ready to pop up in Covent Garden at 1 p.m. today. Oh Baby!” He and his regular touring band played on a mobile stage set up on the back of a truck.
The album, which was released Tuesday, is getting strong critical response, scoring an enthusiastic 77 (out of 100) on Metacritic.com, the aggregate review site. That’s even better than his 2007 album “Memory Almost Full,” which was one of his strongest collections in years. Its composite score on Metacritic is 69.
At home in England, the Telegraph gave “New” a five-star ranking, declaring, “This album proves his talent is timeless.”
Reviewing for The Times, pop music critic Randall Roberts wrote, “With peaks as high as any music he's done this century and nary a valley as low as ‘Silly Love Songs,’ ‘Let 'Em In,’ ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ or his oft-treacly last record of standards, ‘Kisses on the Bottom,’ Paul McCartney's latest studio album is pretty damned good — damn it.”
In the lunch-hour performance, during which he focused on half a dozen songs of “New” material, he included the title track, which is the first single released from the album, before playfully advising onlookers to “Get back to work!”
Here’s a video clip with a snippet of his performance of the song “New.”
Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2
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