Packaged as a set, this trio of eponymous solo albums from Paul McCartney adjoins 50 years, beginning with the solo debut that essentially confirmed his departure from The Beatles in 1970, and rounding off with 2020’s lockdown-induced III.  Since that historic day five decades ago, Macca has been the most prolific former Fab, churning out dozens of studio and live albums.  Yet, probably none are as conceptually unique as these three: written, performed, and produced entirely by Sir Paul.

Not only does it make sense symbolically to group them as a collection, it also accentuates the traits that thread through and connect each to the others.  Mainly, it’s a lo-fi sensibility- not to be confused with lo-fi audio fidelity- that serves as the connective tissue; a preference for sparse and spacious instrumentation and arrangements that reveal McCartney in home workshop mode, and as a very adroit multi-instrumentalist, more than polished pop prophet. 

The self-conscious quirk- most apparent on McCartney II– is regarded in some circles as revolutionary, or at least evolutionary for Paul, (whose original, synth-heavy, vocal-affected “Coming Up” held John Lennon among its admirers, as one such example).  “Temporary Secretary” and its intentionally robotic chorus push that boundary furthest.  Still, the less experimental offerings within the three records are the ones that hold the keel long enough below the waterline to keep the ship upright and moving forward, as well. 

Beautifully simplistic metaphor on “Junk;” the garage blues of “On The Way:” the throwback, finger-picked falsetto folk of “The Kiss of Venus;” these are the quieter, less restless hidden gems of McCartney I, II, and III, respectively, that shimmer as brightly as their splashier brethren.