V/A: PAUL McCARTNEY III IMAGINED

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Description

Sir Paul presents a resequenced, alternate-universe version of last year’s trilogy-completing release, as performed by Beck, Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Dev Hynes, Damon Albarn, and more.  This isn’t random stunt casting for clout—with few exceptions, the artists entrusted with remixing or covering these tracks are noted auteurs themselves, turning McCartney III Imagined into a talent summit.

In other words, even if you don’t look at the album credits, you’ll probably know exactly who’s behind the boards. Beck turns “Find My Way” into a song that originally sounded like a Mellow Gold demo into a bongo-slapping Midnite Vultures workout; St. Vincent amps up the film-noir melodrama of “Women and Wives” by multi-tracking herself into a girl-group chorus line; and Khruangbin’s “Pretty Boys” pulverizes its dainty source material into dubby vapor trails. The most successful remixers here work in service to the song rather than themselves. Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes rehabilitates the once-tedious synth-soul strut of “Deep Down” with his own velvety harmonies and an urgent piano arrangement recalling the Wings classic “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five.” Best of all is Anderson .Paak, who elevates “When Winter Comes” from a farmhouse ditty into a breezy, space-age bachelor-pad reverie.   Alas, even seasoned pros like Damon Albarn and Massive Attack’s 3D RDN can’t totally salvage McCartney III’s more half-baked ideas:

But if the remixers embrace McCartney III’s lawless ethos, the cover renditions here are faithful to Macca’s fundamental tunefulness.