At the tender young age of 78, Sir Paul McCartney doesn’t have to make music. He’s one of the richest musicians on the planet, and the sole fact that he is a Beatle means he never has to ask for anything. But McCartney’s latest solo album is not only a revelation, but his best work in years.
By Christopher Romo
The first track is a pure instrumental, featuring an almost wordless accompaniment by McCartney, who throughout the course of the album, plays every single instrument himself. The next song, the most straightforward track on the album, has McCartney’s timeless sense of melody. It’s instantly recognizable and a whole bunch of fun.
The track “Deep Deep Feeling,” by far the longest on the record, clocking in at nearly eight-and-a-half minutes, might be the most misguided track on the entire record. Half-baked ideas, culminating in a tiresome bridge section that veers right up to the edge of acid rock. It could have been drastically cut down, but in true McCartney fashion, he released it, warts and all.
With every solo album, there will always be certain tracks that get compared to The Beatles, and nowhere is that truer than the song “Seize the Day.” With the cryptic lyrics of being decent to one another, the song is almost begging for the harmonies of the dearly departed John Lennon and George Harrison.
“The Kiss of Venus” and “Pretty Boys,” mostly acoustic tracks, are basically McCartney showing off his impeccable vocals. He might be a bit older and weathered, but every syllable is clear and concise. The matter of both tracks is nothing too special, concerning male models and the planetary motion of Venus, but you just can’t help nod your head and tap your foot.
“Lavatory Lil” is an uncharacteristic diss track from McCartney. Who it’s aimed at is vague at best, but the insistent guitar that drives the melody makes you know and feel that this is the most upset he has been in a long while.
“Women and Wives” is in the same vein of McCartney’s previous work with his band Wings, featuring nonspecific but memorable lyrics, with rhymes sliding together nicely, and the piano providing a nice touch of sentimentality. It’s almost a cliché at this point to say this is classic McCartney.
“Slidin” is the only track on the album to contain featured musicians, with his touring drummer Abe Laboriel Jr. and guitarist Rusty Anderson joining him for this rocker of a tune. It’s maybe because of this that it’s by far the most explosive song on the entire LP.
The last two songs, “Deep Down” and a reprise of the first track, provide a nice bookend to a most remarkable album. “Deep Down,” clocking in at just under six minutes, is not nearly as ponderous as “Deep Deep Feeling.” You could argue that the last track is just unabashed mawkish bullshit, but it’s the sincerity of McCartney’s weathered voice in accompaniment with just an acoustic guitar that raises the track to an almost-instant classic.
All in all, this is a fantastic album that needs no background in McCartney’s previous work. It is musical, melodic and a fresh breath of positivity in a world increasingly polarized. “McCartney III” is a worthy addition to the rock legend’s extensive catalogue.