UPDATED 12/17 These last few weeks, eagle-eyed fans of Paul McCartney have spotted the number 3 in many places, whether on Spotify canvas videos for McCartney and McCartney II, embedded in the metadata of a blank mccartneyiii.com, or on dice sent at random to fans. The answer is now clear: McCartney III is on the way.
Paul McCartney officially announced the release of McCartney III , due on
December 11 December 18 (new date!) from Capitol/MPL. Like its predecessors, McCartney III is a homespun affair. According to a statement, Macca hadn’t originally planned to release an album, but during COVID isolation (or “rockdown,” as Paul puts it), he got to doing what he does best. Cooped up at his Rude Studio, he revisited musical sketches and created new songs. The result is a stripped-down, entirely self-produced and self-engineered collection showing Paul’s talent as a multi-instrumentalist. Tracks were primarily built on his vocals and guitar or piano, layered with his own overdubs of bass, drums, Mellotron, and intriguing percussion. This suggests that some songs may have been based on older demos, just as his recent single B-side “Frank Sinatra’s Party” was a reimagining of “Fishy Matters Underwater,” a demo recorded in 1976.
Whether based on tracks old or new, McCartney III will be a wide-ranging album, spanning “from soul searching to wistful, from playful to raucous and all points between,” according to the press release. Just as McCartney and McCartney II saw the musician responding to life-altering events, McCartney III finds Paul looking inward during a unique and unexpected time in all our lives, responding as he always has, by unleashing his creativity.
McCartney III will be available on CD, 180-gram vinyl with a single-pocket gatefold, and on digital services. Evidently, the design of the new album is a family affair with an included portrait of Paul by Mary McCartney and a full-color gatefold featuring further photos by Mary, Paul, and Sonny McCartney. The cover art and typography, meanwhile, are designed by Ed Ruscha.
As with previous Paul McCartney albums, there will be many exclusive versions for collectors and completists to seek out. First, it’s worth noting that prior to the official announcement of McCartney III, some fans spotted a listing for an exclusive McCartney III (333 Edition) vinyl variant on Third Man Records. This pressing is on yellow vinyl with three black dots representing the die on the album cover. The limited, hand-numbered run features an exclusive screen-printed jacket with a yellow die on the cover, evoking the Third Man logo. Limited to 333 copies and created using 33 recycled vinyl copies of McCartney and McCartney II, it has the distinction of being the first pressing of McCartney III available. Unfortunately, the micro-pressing wasn’t available for long, as it was quietly put online in the early hours of the morning and snapped up immediately.
Happily, vinyl collectors have other options. Independent retailers will have an exclusive white vinyl variant, limited to just 4,000 copies. You can find your nearest record shop that plans to stock this edition right here. There will also be a Newbury Comics-exclusive pink vinyl variant. Third Man Records and PaulMcCartney.com have collaborated on an exclusive red vinyl edition of 3,000 hand-numbered copies featuring the TMR logo on the cover, available through Paul McCartney’s online shop. A UK red vinyl variant will also be pressed, each hand numbered in silver ink and manufactured in the EU at Optimal Media, Germany. This variant bares no mention of Third Man Records. McCartney’s online storefront also lists a Spotify-exclusive 130-gram coke bottle clear pressing. If that weren’t enough, the U.S. big box store Target will have a green vinyl edition with exclusive album art featuring a green die on the cover. Target’s CD edition will also feature the green die album art. Not to be outdone, HMV UK has announced a blue vinyl pressing, which will also be available in the United States exclusively from Barnes and Noble. UDiscover Music will also have an exclusive orange color variant, limited to only 3,000 copies. For instrumentalists, a new songbook with lyrics, chords, and music has also been announced bundled with the CD. Paul McCartney’s online shop now shows a yellow vinyl variant available in an edition of 3,000 copies, as well as a violet-hued edition. Finally, a cassette edition is also planned.
UPDATE 11/9: The track listing is now confirmed. No single has been released yet, but you can get an idea of the far-out sounds we’ll be in for with this short promo video!
UPDATE 11/17: If the aforementioned array of retail-exclusive products wasn’t enough, Paul McCartney has just announced a rainbow of artist website-exclusive editions in white, red, blue, and yellow album art variants. Collectors will be able to choose from standard CD mini-jacket, deluxe CD softpak, CD+colored dice, CD+shirt, CD+hat, and CD+mask configurations for each color variant.
Significantly, each of the four “colors” contains a different “secret demo” bonus track. Collectors will have to seek out all four “colors” to get all the secret demo tracks. The most economical way to get all the demos without the merch or apparel is to purchase the standard mini-jacket variants in white, red, blue, and yellow. Click here to check out a promo video for this Color Collection series that features a snippet of “Find My Way”!
Speaking of bonus tracks, a Japanese SHM-CD edition with four bonus tracks will also be pressed. While it’s currently unclear what those tracks will be, it’s possible they could be the four secret demo tracks from the Color Collection series. We’ll have those details soon. If you order the Japanese copy from CDJapan, you’ll get a free A4-sized calendar while supplies last. Amazon Japan has an exclusive 24cm x 24cm edition of the album featuring the same four bonus tracks. A digital deluxe edition from Paul McCartney’s online shop has been announced, as well, with the same four bonus tracks: “Women and Wives” (Studio Outtake), “Lavatory Lil” (Studio Outtake), “The Kiss Of Venus” (Phone Demo), and “Slidin'” (Düsseldorf Jam).
You can pre-order your copy from the retailer of your choice with the links below!
McCartney III. The new album, out December 11th 🎲
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) October 21, 2020
Paul McCartney, McCartney III (Capitol/MPL, 2020)
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop
CD with alternate “green die” album art: Target / JPC / FNAC
Green vinyl with alternate “green die” album art: Target
White vinyl LP: Your Local Record Shop
Yellow/black vinyl with alternate “yellow die” album art with TMR logo: Third Man Records (sold out)
Red vinyl with alternate Third Man Records “red die” album art with TMR logo: Paul McCartney’s online shop
Red vinyl with alternate “red die” album art, UK variant: Paul McCartney’s online shop (UK)
Coke clear vinyl: Spotify-exclusive through Paul McCartney’s online shop
Pink vinyl: Newbury Comics
Blue vinyl: HMV UK / JPC / Barnes and Noble
Orange vinyl: UDiscover Music
Yellow vinyl: Paul McCartney Online Store
Violet vinyl: Paul McCartney Online Store
Cassette, clear shell: Paul McCartney Online Store (UK)
Cassette, smoky tint shell: Paul McCartney Online Store (US)
— White die cover with secret demo bonus track 1: Paul McCartney Online Store
(standard CD mini-jacket, deluxe CD softpak, CD+dice, CD+shirt,CD+hat, CD+mask, and CD+ornament configurations available in white)
— Red die cover with secret demo bonus track 2: Paul McCartney Online Store
(standard CD mini-jacket, deluxe CD softpak, CD+dice, CD+shirt, CD+hat, CD+mask, and CD+ornament configurations available in red)
— Blue die cover with secret demo bonus track 3: Paul McCartney Online Store
(standard CD mini-jacket, deluxe CD softpak, CD+dice, CD+shirt,CD+hat, CD+mask, and CD+ornament configurations available in blue)
— Yellow die cover with secret demo bonus track 4: Paul McCartney Online Store
(standard CD mini-jacket, deluxe CD softpak, CD+dice, CD+shirt,CD+hat, CD+mask, and CD+ornament configurations available in yellow)
Japan CD red die cover + 4 bonus tracks: CDJapan (with free calendar while supplies last)
Japan CD red die cover without bonus tracks: CDJapan (with free calendar while supplies last)
Japan CD red die cover + 4 bonus tracks: Amazon Japan (in 24cm x 24cm packaging)
CD + songbook bundle: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop
Signed LP test pressing sweepstakes: Universal Music (three copies to be won)
Standard digital album with standard digital cover art (no bonus tracks): across digital download and streaming services
“Deluxe” digital album with swirled die digital cover art (four bonus tracks): Paul McCartney Online Store
- Long Tail Winter Bird
- Find My Way
- Pretty Boys
- Woman and Wives
- Lavatory Lil
- Deep Deep Feeling
- The Kiss of Venus
- Seize The Day
- Deep Down
- Winter Bird/When Winter Comes
- Women And Wives (Studio Outtake)
- Lavatory Lil (Studio Outtake)
- The Kiss Of Venus (Phone Demo)
- Slidin’ (Düsseldorf Jam)