Album comes Dec 11th
Paul McCartney has announced McCartney III, his third self-titled studio album, for December 11th on CD and LP via Capitol Records. The album features the former Beatle playing every instrument and writing and recording every song.
McCartney initially didn’t plan to release an album in 2020, but in the isolation of “Rockdown,” he soon found himself fleshing out some existing musical sketches and creating even more new ones. Before long an eclectic collection of spontaneous songs would become McCartney III: a stripped back, self-produced and, quite literally, solo work marking the opening of a new decade, in the tradition of 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II.
Recorded earlier this year in Sussex, McCartney III is mostly built from live takes of McCartney on vocals and guitar or piano, overdubbing his bass playing, drumming, etc. atop that foundation. The process first sparked when McCartney returned to an unreleased track from the early ’90s, “When Winter Comes” (co-produced by George Martin). McCartney crafted a new passage for the song, giving rise to album opener “Long Tailed Winter Bird” — while “When Winter Comes,” featuring its new 2020 intro “Winter Bird,” became the new album’s grand finale.
“I was living lockdown life on my farm with my family and I would go to my studio every day,” McCartney says of the project. “I had to do a little bit of work on some film music and that turned into the opening track and then when it was done I thought what will I do next? I had some stuff I’d worked on over the years but sometimes time would run out and it would be left half-finished so I started thinking about what I had. Each day I’d start recording with the instrument I wrote the song on and then gradually layer it all up, it was a lot of fun. It was about making music for yourself rather than making music that has to do a job. So, I just did stuff I fancied doing. I had no idea this would end up as an album.”
“Long Tailed Winter Bird” and “Winter Bird/When Winter Comes” bookend McCartney III‘s vast and intimate range of modes and moods, from soul searching to wistful, from playful to raucous and all points between — captured with some of the same gear from his Rude Studio used as far back as 1971 Wings sessions. And McCartney’s array of vintage instruments he played on the new album have an even more storied history, including Bill Black of Elvis Presley’s original trio’s double bass alongside McCartney’s own iconic Hofner violin bass, and a mellotron from Abbey Road Studios used on Beatles recordings, to name but a few.
In keeping with McCartney and McCartney II’s photography by Linda McCartney, the principal photos for III were shot by his daughter Mary McCartney — with additional photography by his nephew Sonny McCartney as well as photos McCartney took on his phone (it’s a family affair). The cover art and typography is by celebrated American artist Ed Ruscha.
McCartney and McCartney II each saw Paul open up a new decade with reinvention, both personal and musical. Just as McCartney’s 1970 release marked his return to basics in the wake of the biggest band break-up in musical history, and the 1980 avant-garde masterpiece McCartney II rose from the ashes of Wings, McCartney III finds Paul back on his own, turning unexpected circumstances into a personal snapshot of a timeless artist at a unique point in history.
Vinyl configurations will range from standard 180-gram to 3,000 hand-numbered red vinyl copies, a 333 Edition sold only via Third Man Records online store and limited to 333 copies on yellow-with-black-dots vinyl created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II, a U.S. indie retail exclusive pressing of 4,000 hand-numbered white vinyl LPs, and more. The 333 Edition are sold out.
This week, McCartney teased the project on social media by posting a series of pictures containing three mushrooms and flowers. There was a solo rose, referring to being the only musician on the project.
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.