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Paul McCartney - McCartney III (Album Review)

Wednesday, 23 December 2020 Written by Alex Myles

By now we’ve become used to the idea of a lockdown album. But one from Sir Paul McCartney? Well, that is a lovely surprise.

McCartney surprised even himself with this album, for ‘McCartney III’ is the third in a trilogy of happy accidents. As with 1970’s ‘McCartney’ and 1980’s ‘McCartney II’, the 78-year-old didn’t set out to create an album in 2020. It just happened.

Like ‘McCartney’, this is a one-man project and the former Beatle explores themes of home, love, and nature. The first, mostly instrumental, track takes inspiration from the latter, with pop tunes Find My Way and Pretty Boys following soon after.

With simple chord progressions, complemented by layered guitars and harpsichord parts, they are neat examples of a familiar McCartney style. 

But McCartney has also always parroted the vocals of his heroes. On Woman and Wives, he takes on a lower baritone register in devotion to early blues singers. The blues-rock influence continues unabated on Lavatory Lil and Slidin’, both of which could be on ‘Abbey Road’ without sounding too out of place. 

Something that is incongruous, though, is the eight and a half minute Deep Deep Feeling, and its pure indulgence is a creative crutch McCartney has often been derided for. The Kiss of Venus soon restores faith though, with an expertly played acoustic guitar, reminiscent of In My Life, alongside yet another harpsichord refrain. 

Even after all these years, McCartney's guitar chops remain underrated. Seize The Day also conjures up memories of the Fab Four, and there’s some of ‘Sgt. Pepper's…’ baroque-pop to the musicality and nonsensical lyrics. While the soul trappings of Deep Down leave a lot to be desired, the album ends on a treat in When Winter Comes, a playful acoustic track penned about the beauty of a simple life on the farm.

McCartney is an extraordinarily ordinary person. He has never really aimed to be ground-breaking or revolutionary, unlike his former songwriting partner. This album, like most of his solo efforts, is Paul having fun, crafting songs with simple chords and vocals that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Here, McCartney’s music yet again acts as a balm. 

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