Reimagining songs is a tricky business for everyone, an especially so when the songwriter is someone as renowned and revered as Paul McCartney. Created during 2020’s lockdown restrictions, his 18th solo album, McCartney III, was released last December, comparable to the similarly titled McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980) by virtue of its sparse, strictly solo music styles.
Running in parallel, however, was an idea by McCartney to offer the album’s songs to other musicians in lockdown. And so, without much ado the results are in. That the results are better than the original album isn’t a surprise – McCartney III doesn’t exactly bowl the listener over with memorable tunes – but there are occasions when the covers and remixes explore, unearth and reinvigorate.
The remix highpoints include Dominic Fike’s spiky The Kiss of Venus, St Vincent’s unobtrusive Women and Wives, Phoebe Bridgers’ eminently melodic Seize the Day, and the ambient immersion of Deep Deep Feeling by 3D RDN (aka Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja). Low points are several, with Josh Homme’s mediocre Lavatory Lil – by far the worst song on the original album – topping the bill.
It’s all horses for courses, needless to say, but it smacks of an exercise in passing the time rather than any significant progressive enhancements. A poor song is a poor song, no matter how much you meddle with it.