It took Sir Paul McCartney 50 years to complete the McCartney trilogy of self-recorded and performed solo albums. Now, with collaboration instead of isolation at the forefront, the songs of McCartney III are receiving an upgrade in the form of McCartney III Imagined, an album of remixes, covers and reinterpretations from some of the world's most respected musicians and producers of various backgrounds and styles. The result is a cluster of McCartney-penned tracks with a sprinkle of personality from each of their new performers.
Just before Christmas, Paul McCartney released the final part of a trilogy of albums that began back in 1970. McCartney III, was the latest in a series of home-recorded, self-produced songs where all the instruments were played by McCartney himself. McCartney III, like a lot of the former Beatles‘ later material, was a mixed bag, with some genuinely surprising moments of experimentation mixed with some decidedly average songs.
Last December, Paul McCartney gave fans an early Christmas present in the form of McCartney III, an event that--short of a holographic Beatles reunion tour or an official release of Carnival of Light--fulfilled the ultimate fantasy of many long-time Maccaphiles. But the excitement was as much about him embracing old ways as making new music: The album revisited the mad-scientist methodology of die-hard fan favorites McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980), DIY efforts that deconstructed his perfectionist streak through off-kilter folk-funk and bizarro synth-pop. The enduring cult appeal of the latter record, in particular, has done much to transform McCartney's image from a sentimental, set-in-his-ways rock dinosaur into an eccentric godfather figure for a new generation of home-recording misfits and pop omnivores.
Paul McCartney's ongoing creative luminescence is truly exceptional. Whereas peers such as Eric Clapton and Van Morrison find themselves at loggerheads with the world, Macca's joi de vivre and thumbs up positivity has become the perfect lockdown antidote. Last year's home-recorded 'McCartney III' was a wonderful DIY song cycle, slowing an ad hoc triptych that spans 1970's 'McCartney' and 1980's 'McCartney III'.