Paul McCartney Releasing New Album ‘McCartney III’ on Dec. 18: What We Know

by Jon D. B.

If any decade ever needed to start off with a playful Paul McCartney album, it’s this one. Thankfully, the legend is back with McCartney III.

Thinking of Sir Paul McCartney as “that Beatles’ legend from that mystical age of budding rock & roll” is as dated as it sounds. The man is the definition of “legend”, true, but the artistry of music is in his very bones. As such, McCartney has never stopped being just that – a musician – and the past decade, in particular, has shown the knighted icon is as relevant now as he’s ever been.

Paul McCartney Gifts III for 2020 Holiday Cheer

“McCartney’s been on a songwriting roll in recent years,” Rolling Stone states, putting it simply. “It’s just been two years since the excellent Egypt Station, one of his finest solo records ever, with the Alex Chilton-style guitar meditation “Dominoes,” definitely an all-time top ten Paul solo classic.” Moreover, “Egypt Station was also a Number One hit, and never think for a moment [McCartney] doesn’t take that to heart. It was his first chart-topper since Tug of War in 1982, setting a new record for the longest stretch between Number One albums.”

So why all the hubbub from Stone? Why, McCartney III is here, and it’s worth celebrating.

Indeed, having another new Paul McCartney solo album to crack into before 2020 ends is a true gift. III isn’t a typical solo album in the context of this terminology, either. It’s an actual solo creation, with every single instrument and vocal performance coming from Paul’s own vascular system: all breathing life into songs he wrote himself.

As such, III is a spiritual continuation of his first two solo albums, 1970’s McCartney, and 1980’s McCartney II. And while four decades have begun & ended since the last “McCartney” album – if there ever were a decade’s beginning in need of a transfusion of signature Macca joy, it’s 2020.

Paul McCartney “had no idea this would end up an album”

Like the rest of us, Paul McCartney spent most of 2020 in lockdown amid the unfolding COVID-19 Pandemic. For McCartney and his family, this means living the farm life he loves so much in Sussex, England. Amidst it, the icon took some time out of quarantine to speak to Rolling Stone on the formation of the album back in October.

“I was living lockdown life on my farm with my family and I would go to my studio every day,” McCartney tells Stone. “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? 

As for the inspiration behind some of III‘s tunes, McCartney says that a few songs were resurrected from his past. “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,” says the icon of his true solo experience.

“It was about making music for yourself rather than making music that has to do a job,” he wraps up. “So, I just did stuff I fancied doing. I had no idea this would end up as an album.”

Consider us thrilled it did. So far, reviews for III are rock solid across the board, with Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and USA Today all rating the icon’s 18th solo studio album as 4/5 stars or above. Moreover, III holds an 81/100 on Metacritic so far with 10 pro-reviews, indicating “universal acclaim” from the ratings giant.

McCartney III: 11 Tracks, 44 Minutes

1.“Long Tailed Winter Bird”5:16
2.“Find My Way”3:54
3.“Pretty Boys”3:00
4.“Women and Wives”2:52
5.“Lavatory Lil”2:22
6.“Deep Deep Feeling”8:25
8.“The Kiss of Venus”3:06
9.“Seize the Day”3:20
10.“Deep Down”5:52
11.“Winter Bird / When Winter Comes”3:12
Total length:44:42

Of the tracks themselves, Rolling Stone clarifies that Paul McCartney has “been in lockdown, hanging out on his daughter’s farm, grandchildren on his knee, strumming his acoustic guitar in the English summer sun.” As a result, the songs he’s written result in “the warmest and friendliest of quarantine albums — it’s basically Ram meets Folklore,” they add, citing two of McCartney’s solo efforts from many decades past.

“Back in the Seventies, one of his Wings bandmates called him “just a farmer who plays guitar,” and that’s the vibe he’s going for here,” Stone continues. “Paul hasn’t sounded so rustic since his earliest solo days, from “Mary’s Got a Little Lamb” to “Junior’s Farm” to “Mull of Kintyre.” When he sings about sheep and chickens, you know he means actual sheep and chickens, not metaphors.”

McCartney III Releases December 18, 2020

Watch the trailer for the latest from Paul McCartney below, and enjoy the album itself once it hits tomorrow.