Album Review: Paul McCartney “McCartney III Imagined”

Album Review: McCartney III Imagined
Graphics by Kevin Shin

By Tatum Jenkins, Music Coordinator

Paul McCartney released his latest album McCartney III late last year. Now, it's getting an update through the eyes of other musicians. Brilliant artists of all genres and eras imagine one of the albums' eleven tracks in their own eyes. No two songs sound the same, but each is the wonderful result of incredible sonic experimentation.

 

"FIND MY WAY" - BECK

In a percussive, groovy atmosphere, Beck and Paul McCartney's blended vocals cut smoothly through the instrumentation. Beck's psychedelic twist on "Find My Way" gives it a modern yet disco throwback vibe to the originally rock-sounding track. It keeps the rhythmic feel of the original version, but throws in some additional percussion and slippery synths. All these elements keep the listener guessing from start to finish.

 

"THE KISS OF VENUS" - DOMINIC FIKE

Dominic Fike makes "The Kiss of Venus" unrecognizable from the original version in the best way. He adds in sleek electric guitar lines, rhythmic drums, and added production that perfectly pillows his vocals in sound. The best part is how Fike builds up layers of instrumentation in each verse. Then, when the chorus hits, the song explodes in your ears.

 

"PRETTY BOYS" - KHRUANGBIN

In classic Khruangbin fashion, the Houston-based soul trio adds an unmistakable groove and funk feel to this "Pretty Boys." Their subtle instrumentation goes a long way in making this song sonically resonant. The vocals seem to echo through the atmosphere in a way that reminds me of David Bowie's voice. Under Khruanbin's creative direction, "Pretty Boys"  feels like an old vinyl that's been dug out of grandma's attic, but still sounds as good as the day she bought it.

 

"WOMEN AND WIVES" - ST. VINCENT

When St. Vincent takes control of this track, she puts McCartney's vocals front in center. The mystic synths almost make it sound like a song that would play at a mysterious club. She layers her own vocals into synths and percussion, using her own body as an instrument. She certainly brings out a new depth in "Woman and Wives."

 

"DEEP DOWN" - BLOOD ORANGE

Blood Orange masterfully uses his voice as its own instrument in his remix of "Deep Down." His ability to layer his voice gradually with percussion and piano makes this song feel psychedelic in a pop tradition. He also nicely builds anticipation with the subtle adding of elements to the song. The British singer starts with pure vocals at the beginning, transitioning to a full-sounding, groovy track by the end.

 

"SEIZE THE DAY" - PHOEBE BRIDGERS

Originally performed and written as a more traditional rock song, "Seize The Day'' grows more ominous with Phoebe Bridgers' vision. Her airy, haunting vocals perfectly silhouette the guitar and muted beats. They create a comforting, graveyard-like feel to this track about treasuring better moments for more upsetting times.

 

"SLIDIN'" - EOB

Radiohead's Ed O'Brien takes the guitar-driven "Slidin'" and gives it some aggressive drums and vocals to rejuvenate the alternative sound into something more traditionally rock. He gives the song a more experimental feel where McCartney played it safe, an excellent risk to take.

 

"LONG TAILED WINTER BIRD" - DAMON ALBARN

"Long Tailed Winter Bird" gets a psychedelic, electro treatment from Damon Albarn, frontman of Blur and Gorillaz. Guitars get replaced by discordant synths and hollow beats, making McCartney's voice pulsate among the instrumental, and making the listener feel disoriented in the best way.

 

"LAVATORY LIL" - JOSH HOMME

Josh Homme's version of "Lavatory Lil" is the closest to McCartney's of all the reimaginations. Still, the Queens of the Stone Age frontman makes the track feel like his own. He adds a classic rock spin on it by stripping down the guitar so that it drives the song. This leaves his vocals to trail behind in their own subdued, yet engaging way. With breath-like accents and a strong bass line, Homme creates a sense of suspense that will keep you listening.

 

"WHEN WINTER COMES" - ANDERSON .PAAK

Anderson .Paak gives "When Winter Comes" more of a rhythmic, storytelling feel. The singer/rapper furnishes the track with piano and drums, padding McCartney's comforting voice. A previously acoustic song, .Paak's subtle instrumentation makes it lean more into a throwback pop direction. It oddly feels like a Carole King song, rejuvenated by McCartney and .Paak.

 

"DEEP DEEP FEELING" - 3D RDN

McCartney's "Deep Deep Feeling" transforms into a chill club song with 3D RDN. A syncopated beat intertwines with a low, steady synth to create the perfect even background for McCartney's vocals. Everything is so tightly wound sonically. There's a deep sense of satisfaction that comes with witnessing how everything comes together in this remix.

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