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’. Fun and full of vim, ‘McCartney III’ proved that his undoubted gift with melody – not for nothing does the phrase ‘McCartney-esque’ stand as such high praise – remained undaunted, matched with a passion for experimental whimsy.
‘McCartney III Reimagined’ features a hand-picked cast giving the songs on the home studio album a once over. Pleasingly diverse, it finds Sir Paul hanging over the tapes to some truly incredible artists – indeed, it’s probably time to chalk ‘curatorial abilities’ on the lengthy list of things the Beatles icon excels at.
Beck’s bubbling, immediate, and really-rather-funky take on ‘Find My Way’ opens the set, before pop auteur Dominic Fike has his wicked way with ‘The Kiss Of Venus’. Both are rather faithful interpretations, but often it’s when guest depart from the core text that ‘McCartney III Reimagined’ becomes truly enlightening.
Take the gloriously chilled out funk of Khruangbin, who are left free to tease ‘Pretty Boys’ out to such dynamic lengths. EOB – in reality Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien – delivers a full throttle nu metal nuclear explosion with his take on ‘Slidin’ while Massive Attack producer 3D explodes ‘Deep Deep Feeling’ on the 10 minute finale.
Implausibly diverse, ‘McCartney III Reimagined’ is able to move from Josh Homme’s bluesy strut ‘Lavatory Lil’ to a pleasingly sweet, entirely heartfelt Anderson .Paak take on ‘When Winter Comes’. The peaks, however, arguably come from the hands of two female artists: St. Vincent’s gloriously luxurious ‘Women And Wives’ preens its way to a spasmodic guitar solo, while Phoebe Bridgers tantalising take on ‘Seize The Day’ proves that her golden run is showing no signs of slowing down.
Remix albums are often – truth be told – an absolute chore, a hangover from the 90s era of 17 quid compact discs. This reiminaging, however, serves of noble dual task – it illustrates Paul McCartney’s continued creative relevance to artists a third of his age, while also underlining the craftmanship that went into last year’s ‘McCartney III’. Not an essential listen, perhaps, but one that will fascinate and intrigue fans.
Words: Robin Murray
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