By Joey Collins ‘21
One thing I’ve always admired about Paul McCartney is how much he embraces new generations of music. McCartney has collaborated with everyone from Michael Jackson to Kanye West and Rihanna. The former Beatle has managed to adjust to the ever changing music industry since the 1960s, but he doesn’t change his style to fit in. Rather, he sees what he likes and adds it to his repertoire.
“McCartney III Imagined” is comprised of songs from his last album “McCartney III,” “reimagined” by different artists. Instead of simply doing covers or remixes, McCartney had the artists reinterpret the songs themselves. Even though it is more of a collection of “reimagined” songs than an album, it feels cohesive, bound together by McCartney’s style and influence.
McCartney enlisted Dominic Fike for the lead single, “The Kiss of Venus,” which was released at the beginning of March. Fike reflects on the discordance of the media in a time where the world already feels divided. “Have you read the paper / People talking about which side they’re taking,” he sings. Fike has shown a crazy amount of versatility since coming on to the scene with his “Don’t Forget About Me Demos.” The Naples, Florida native can transition from a quick rap verse to an emotional ballad to a guitar solo without anything feeling out of place.
The Beatles’ influence is heavy on Blood Orange’s remix of “Deep Down.” Blood Orange (real name Devonté Hynes) is an English singer/songwriter/producer/composer who has worked with people like Mac Miller, A$AP Rocky, Mariah Carey, and many more. With reversed guitars and slightly jarring piano and vocals, Hynes’ “Deep Down” remix feels like something off of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
“When Winter Comes,” remixed by Anderson .Paak is an upbeat track driven by .Paak’s soulful drumming and some help from Mac DeMarco on guitar and bass. Unfortunately, .Paak does not sing on the song, but McCartney does a perfectly fine job himself. Phoebe Bridgers’ “Seize the Day” walks the line between sad and uplifting, something Bridgers does as well as anybody.
On “Slidin,” Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien (under the moniker EoB) delivers the most rock-heavy track on the album. It has a catchy, distorted guitar riff that draws you in from the beginning. Queens of the Stone Age founder Josh Homme’s “Lavatory Lil” has muted guitar strums that vaguely resemble The Beatles’ “Come Together.”
Beck’s “Find My Way” and Khruangbin’s “Pretty Boys” are both atmospheric tracks. Their bass and percussion work in tandem to give the songs an irresistible groove. Damon Albarn, of Blur and Gorillaz, opts for a melancholy, synthetic feel on his remix of “Long Tailed Winter Bird. On “Women and Wives,” reimagined by St. Vincent (real name Annie Clark), McCartney sounds like an old-time lounge singer backed with glimmering guitars and Clark’s vocals. The album ends with “Deep Deep Feeling” remixed by 3D RDN, a sinister-sounding track just over eleven minutes.
From the soft R&B track “When Winter Comes” to the hard rock of “Slidin’,” “McCartney III Imagined” is a rollercoaster, but McCartney’s influence holds it all together.