Paul McCartney has nothing to prove, at 78 years old everyone knows that we are before one of the greatest composers in the history of popular music, so it is interesting to see him looking back and create a new volume of his albums completely alone, in which he acts as the only responsable of every note heard on the album, by composing, playing and producing all the material.
The first part of this interesting trilogy arrived in 1970, just after Paul left the Beatles, with McCartney, and in 1980; after the dissolution of Wings, McCartney II appeared. Since then we have had to wait another 40 years, and a world pandemic, until we arrived at McCartney III, on which the ex-Beatle seems to have had a great time.
The first two volumes of McCartney, I and II, saw him flirting with other sounds … while the 1970 volume saw him in lo-fi mode long before that label meant anything, the second saw him flirting with electronics like a child in new shoes. III does not represent a further step into the unknown, but a collection on which he has allowed himself a little bit of everything, acoustic beauties, kick ass hard rock songs and even a risky composition, Deep Deep Feeling, of more than eight minutes in length, on which he enters into experimental R&B terrain.
I think the album would have benefitted from a clearer focus. I would have loved to hear an entire album of Paul alone with one of his acoustics, for example his beloved Martin D-28, in a vein similar to Johnny Cash's American Recordings. I'd also love to have heard a metal album, with the heiresses of Helter Skelter - like Cut Me Some Slack that he did with the surviving members of Nirvana or the brutal Slidin' that appears on this album, which makes it clear that Macca also has a place for Queens Of The Stone Age on his record player. But Paul seems to have enjoyed making McCartney III to the fullest.
What's more, this time he has managed to make perfect use of his aged voice, finding himself once again as a performer, without sounding forced. The album opens with Long Tailed Winter Bird, a song that reappears at the end of the album with Winter Bird/When Winter Comes, giving the album a cyclical feel. But, as I was saying, the album is too varied to sound totally coherent. Even so there are several high value songs (after all we are talking about Paul McCartney) like that almost instrumental beginning with a country folk flavour of the aforementioned Long Tailed Winter Bird.
Slidin' is one of the album’s jewels, as it sees the reappearance of the most hard rock McCartney, with a heavy riff that seems to be influenced by Josh Homme and that he could have played with one of his 60's Les Pauls (although in the video previews of the album you can only see him with a Telecaster and one of his Epiphone Casinos). This is followed by another small wonder, the acoustic The Kiss Of Venus, which would have been a good fit on the Beatles' White Album. The album closes with another acoustic ‘mark of the house’, Winter Bird/When Winter Comes.
Paul McCartney has taken advantage of lockdown to show that, however much some people think, he is still alive and well. McCartney III sees him closing a trilogy with which he has established a link through a solo career that deserves more recognition.