Album Review – Paul McCartney – McCartney III Imagined

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Last year while the entire world was losing their shit, hoarding toilet paper and fighting with strangers over masks, a wise old man who lived on a lovely farm with his lovely family in Sussex, decided to record an album.

In his typically creative fashion, he referred to the quarantine as the “rock down” and kept himself delightfully busy.  Playing every instrument and penning each word he created McCartney III.

Even if you’re not a Beatles fan, you got to have at least one favourite Paul McCartney song.  His catalogue spans six decades and although his voice is incredibly distinct, he has definitely experimented with a lot of sounds and styles.

McCartney III Imagined continues his tradition of exploring new music with a fabulous guest list featuring some of the most talented and diverse artists around.  Each contributor was personally enlisted by the ex-Beatle and brings a unique and exciting spin on their track.  I don’t care how old you are or what type of music you listen to, when you get that call, you bloody well jump.

The first track is Beck’s funked-up take on “Find My Way” which found its cutesy ear-worm way into my head and is still there.  In an interview with SPIN  Beck describes his inspiration as a memory of watching Paul bust a move on the dance floor with his wife Nancy.

“I remembered that night and wanted to try to recapture that amazing spirit I felt while watching him on the dance floor…sort of my little tribute to Paul ‘in his groove,’” Beck says.

“When I then heard the falsetto vocal in Paul’s original track I wanted to lean further into something really loose and funky – I pulled out my Hofner (because of course) and put down a few bass lines…and everything came to life from there. The best part of the entire experience, though, came a week after I’d turned in the remix when Paul called to tell me he’d been dancing in his kitchen to the track all week.” (SPIN)

The album is an eclectic mix due to the assortment of new and not-so-new artists who have an uncanny ability to somehow reinterpret a McCartney song and make it sound like their own.

Dominic Fike brings a youthful charm to “Kiss of Venus”. His vocals are both sweet and passionate reminiscent of a Wings love song.

McCartney proves that for a dude that was born in 1942 he’s still got his fingers on the pulse of new music.  Not only has he chosen some female artists he has also chosen some not-so-mainstream ones as well.

I really enjoyed St Vincent’s moody Portishead vibe on “Women and Wives”.  And Phoebe Bridgers’ delicate and haunting vocals on “Seize The Day” was a fantastic fit.

Blood Orange and Anderson Paak bring some soul to the record. On “Deep Down” Blood Orange’s lush harmonies add so much warmth to the track that it sounds better than the original. And Paak’s delicious drumming adds a rich layer to the melodic “When Winter Comes.”

I’m a big fan of Khruangbin and was pleasantly surprised to hear their hypnotic groove on “Pretty Boys”.

Damon Albarn’s (Blur)remix of “Long Tailed Winter Bird” was also pretty groovy with a psychedelic keyboard solo with a strong Ray Manzarek feel.

Desert Rock bad boy Josh Homme adds his spin on“Lavatory Lil.” The lyrics and tone of the song sound like they could have been on the White Album.  (I got a feeling that this song was written a long time ago).

“Slidin” (Ed O’Brien/Radiohead) is the banger of the album with its solid guitar riff and McCartney uses his shouty voice (think Helter Skelter).

So, maybe you don’t have a 1,500-acre estate in England that you can escape to.  And maybe you’re going through the 3rd or 4th wave of the lockdown and are feeling kind of lost.  On April 16th McCartney III Imagined will be released and you can listen to what the man said.

You never used to be afraid of days like these
But now you’re overwhelmed by your anxieties
Let me help you out, let me be your guide
I can help you reach the love you feel inside

(Find My Way)

  1. Find My Way (feat. Beck)
  2. The Kiss of Venus (Dominic Fike)
  3. Pretty Boys (feat. Khruangbin)
  4. Women And Wives (St. Vincent Remix)
  5. Deep Down (Blood Orange Remix)
  6. Seize The Day (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
  7. Slidin’ (EOB Remix)
  8. Long Tailed Winter Bird (Damon Albarn Remix)
  9. Lavatory Lil (Josh Homme)
  10. When Winter Comes (Anderson .Paak Remix)
  11. Deep Deep Feeling (3D RDN Remix)
  12. Long Tailed Winter Bird (Idris Elba Remix)

(December 2020 Apple Music)

Annette Aghazarian

April 10, 2021

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