‘New’ is the title track and sixth song on Paul McCartney’s 16th solo studio album.
The album New was announced on 29 August 2013, and the title track went on sale on the same day. It was posted by McCartney on YouTube and SoundCloud, and made available for download on iTunes.
The title track ‘New’ was the first song to be revealed. It was produced by Mark Ronson, one of two tracks he worked on on the album; the other was ‘Alligator’.
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.
‘New’ was written with McCartney’s third wife Nancy Shevell in mind.
You know there are so many ways to talk about meeting someone and falling for someone. It just occurred to me, when I was writing this song, that I could say ‘then we were new’. There we were, going along and then we were new. It was just another way that I thought was kind of, hopefully, original to say ‘then we were in love’. I’m really writing it about Nancy. But I do love that thing about songs. When you release them, they become people’s property. They’re not mine anymore. So if someone puts a meaning on one of my songs that suits them, then that’s great.
‘New’ was posted on the morning of 29 August on YouTube, and made available on SoundCloud and iTunes.
We wanted to put it out as the first track from the album, because it’s a summer, drive along song. I can imagine driving the motorway while this one is blasting from the car speakers.
When I play to people the album and this one comes along, they go ‘Oh this is you!’ So yeah, people do point out that it’s very me. And I must say, when I wrote it, I thought that. I thought ‘Okay, this is me, writing songs that I’m known for.’
An acoustic version of ‘New’, recorded with just guitar and vocals backstage before McCartney’s show in Regina, Canada, was posted on YouTube on 11 September:
It was totally impromptu. We hadn’t sung it since we recorded it together months earlier. We simply joined in as we normally do before taking the stage with Paul, this time singing ‘New’ without practicing it beforehand.