The third in a trilogy of solo records (preceded by 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II), McCartney III is Sir Paul’s 18th solo studio album. But Macca didn’t actually set out to make this record; it’s the result of creating music purely for himself (“I just did stuff I fancied doing”).
As well as his iconic Hofner violin bass, McCartney also plays a mellotron from Abbey Road Studios that was used on Beatles recordings and Elvis Presley’s sideman’s double bass on this 11-song set, which he wrote, performed and produced in his Sussex estate home studio during “Rockdown.”
Opener Long Tailed Winter Bird takes flight from a shiny, inquisitive guitar riff. Then woodwind birdsong enters before Macca croons, “Do you, doo-da-doo-doo miss me/ Do you, doo-da-doo-doo feel me…” Closer Winter Bird/When Winter Comes is a previously unreleased track co-produced by George Martin back in the ’90s. Fleshed-out, it incorporates the opener’s aforementioned luminous riff to create a neat dovetail effect.
As expected, lyricism dazzles throughout (“Meet the pretty boys/ A line of bicycles for hire/ Objects of desire/ Working for the Squire” – I mean…). On Women And Wives, McCartney adopts a deep, insistent vocal timbre (doesn’t even sound like him!) and one could never tire of listening to Macca supplying his own drunken-chorus BVs (see cautionary tale: Lavatory Lil) – he sounds liberated, enjoying the process. McCartney III is both songwriting masterclass and delightful lark.
McCartney III by Paul McCartney is out December 18 (including on JB-exclusive blue vinyl, pictured above) via Capitol.
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