McCartney III: Groovy, Experimental Take on Lockdown

Valerie Loeblich, Staff Writer

With tremendous previous success to live up to, expectations for the new “McCartney III” album released on Dec. 18 were high, but not unreachable. Paul McCartney demolished those expectations, bringing an astounding and versatile record to streaming platforms everywhere.

The new “McCartney III” completes  a trilogy of albums, with the predecessors being born out of breakups with the Beatles, and then the Wings. Similarly, “McCartney III” came at the time of world-wide breakup with life as it was before quarantine. During his months in  isolation, McCartney created a third homespun album in one-man-band style, featuring himself on every instrument, and only his  vocals. McCartney has stated that his original intentions were not to release an album and that it was for fun and to write songs for himself, which explains the album’s eclectic nature. 

“McCartney III” is labeled as a pop/rock album, spanning over both genres. It begins with “Long Tailed Winter Bird” featuring a looped acoustic guitar riff and a long and heavy instrumental. The track “Lavatory Lil” in a playful style and an upbeat instrumental drives the album forward, adding some lighthearted fun. It’s reminiscent of his work in the 70’s and 80’s, and sounds like it could be straight out of the Beatles’ album “Abbey Road” alongside songs like “Polythene Pam” and “Mean Mr. Mustard.”

Immediately following goofy “Lavatory Lil” is “Deep Deep Feeling”, an eight minute long epic atmospheric piece containing different intertwining melodies, falsettos and synthesizer with lyrics like “Emotion burns an ocean of love” and “When you love someone so much, you feel your heart’s gonna burst.” It is another classic McCartney love song, but one so well rounded and groovy that it is likely the best solo track he has released in decades. 

Next, comes the track “Slidin’”, opening with a hard rock vibe similar to the band Queens of the Stone Age. “Slidin’” is a heavier song than typically associated with McCartney, and is the heaviest since the release of “Helter Skelter” in 1968 with the Beatles. 

The final song on the album, “Winter Bird/When Winter Comes” is the perfect ending. Starting with a reprise of the memorable guitar riffs in “Long Tailed Winter Bird”, it quickly shifts into “When Winter Comes”, a recording given new life from 1992. It finishes the album with nostalgia of older times and a younger McCartney, and ties all of his tunes together, finishing the classic McCartney trilogy.

The album is filled with experimentation, and it is obvious that McCartney had a blast recording it. However, since each song is vastly different from the last it is open for criticism. Some may see it as messy and quite imperfect or clumsy due to the nature of homespun albums. The instrumentals would have been more impressive or had more depth if collaborated on or worked on in a studio setting. However, his lyrics and song-making abilities are still going strong, and although his voice has aged, his music is just as enjoyable as before. 

With the release of “McCartney III” the completion of  his album trilogy , McCartney is proving to the world that age doesn’t matter with passions, and that he is still a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.