Album Review: Paul McCartney — McCartney III

Categories:  Music    The Arts
Monday, February 1st, 2021 at 11:48 AM
Album Review: Paul McCartney — McCartney III by Teddy Rankin

There’s nothing I can say about Paul McCartney that hasn’t been said before. The aging Beatles heartthrob is arguably the greatest songsmith of all time, having released timeless classics spanning seven decades. He boasts more Grammy nominations (79) than years alive (78). After all this time, what songs could he possibly have left unsung?

But like everyone else, McCartney found himself quarantining with a newfound restlessness in 2020. While many were learning how to bake their own bread or adjusting to the futuristic Zoom-scape, McCartney channeled his solitary angst into his lifelong passion.

“McCartney III”, the follow-up to both Sir Paul’s debut solo album, “McCartney” (1970), and “McCartney II” (1980), marks the superstar’s return to his strongest suit: earworm acoustic melodies and eccentric lyrics. In recent years, he has conspired with the likes of Mark Ronson and Kanye West to bring listeners bright pop music seemingly contrived in a boardroom. While those songs were still high quality products, they failed to match the artistic nature of the elderly rocker.

McCartney plays every instrument on this album, which helps to construct an intimate experience. You can almost imagine that you’re in his Sussex farmhouse as he toils over every small detail. The music video for “Find My Way,” the record’s most ornate track, demonstrates McCartney’s process and overwhelming versatile talent. The video’s kaleidoscopic visuals show the many ingredients that make up a McCartney composition.

Meanwhile, “The Kiss of Venus” features a beautiful guitar melody, and while Sir Paul is clearly aging, his heartfelt vocals really shine through here. It is reminiscent of Beatles classics like “Blackbird” and “Michelle.” McCartney croons about a love that brings peace amidst a world that seems to make less sense with each passing day: “Packed with illusions, our world is turned around / This golden circle has a most harmonic sound.”

McCartney’s continual introspection is most evident in on-the-nose tracks like “Deep Deep Feeling” and “Deep Down.” On the former, which clocks in at over 8 minutes long, McCartney discusses his helpless attempts to control his emotions, singing, “Sometimes I wish it would stay, sometimes I wish it would go away.”

While “McCartney III” is by no means comparable to his legendary work as a younger man, it is somewhat reassuring to see that Paul McCartney still has some musical genius left in him. The fact that he can write and record an album this good, on his own, and at his age is more than impressive. The multi-millionaire superstar certainly did not have to make this record, but it is proof that McCartney still loves the craft and finds comfort in songwriting when everything else seems uncertain.

Teddy Rankin is the Music Editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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