English music legend Paul McCartney emanates positivity and shows playfulness on his newest album, “McCartney III.”
Recorded at his house near his studio during lock-down, this album, his 18th overall (excluding work with his solo band, Wings), is the latest in a series of eponymous DIY projects that date to 1970.
Like the other two, where “McCartney”(1970) was released following the Beatles’s break-up and “McCartney II” (1980) came after Wings called it quits, “III” was birthed from tumultuous circumstances — this time the Coronavirus pandemic.
Starting and ending the work with songs referencing birds, “Long Tailed Winter Bird” opens the album with McCartney connecting to the masses. A light-sounding acoustic guitar begins momentum before a grooving bass line, horns and Funk guitar effects combine for one his best jams in recent memory. The only lyrics in the hook, “Do you, do-do, do you miss me? Do you, do-do, do you feel me? Do you, do-do, do you trust me?” are a garnish for a track that takes multiple plays to hear all of its secrets.
Recalling the Pop-Rock formula of his 17th LP, “Egypt Station” (2018), “Find my Way” along with the delicate, “Women and Wives,” offer various forms of advice on how people should choose to live, being that just their existence effects the world around them.
“Seize The Day,” hints at a Beatles vibe amongst piano and sharp guitar runs. The sticking point with this song and the rest of “III” is McCartney’s adventurous approach blending styles from his past with contemporary sounds.
Weaker fare like “Pretty Boys,” “Lavatory Lil” (a distant relative to “Polythene Pam”?) and the drums/piano-heavy “Deep Deep Feeling” are less serious but still potent, thanks to the caliber of his musicianship.
“Slidin,” the obligatory rocker (there’s always at least one edgier song on McCartney’s albums) finds him confidently proclaiming, “I know there must be other ways of feeling free. But this is what I wanna do, who I wanna be. Every time I try, I feel like I can fly,” over spacey, angsty guitars. “Deep Down,” resembles shades of “3 Legs” from “RAM” (1971) but is buffed with Poppy horns and an organ.
The last quarter of the record marked with “The Kiss of Venus,” plays out more relaxed. “KOV” seemingly takes us to the land of his fabled muse.
Creative imagery like golden circles with harmonic sound, two passing planets in the sweet, sweet summer air and references to a world of illusions is a unexpected slice of magic for an artist nearing his eighth decade on Earth.