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McCartney III is the upcoming 18th solo album by Paul, scheduled to be released on 18 December 2020 by Capitol Records. It serves as a sort of continuation to his first two solo albums, McCartney (1970) and McCartney II (1980). Like those albums, McCartney III features McCartney on all instruments.

McCartney III was recorded in early 2020 in Sussex, England at Paul’s home while in lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Describing the process of recording the album, McCartney said: “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.”

Like previous McCartney albums, the instrumental work is recorded by McCartney himself. He similarly performed most of the instruments on his 2005 album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and on his 2007 album Memory Almost Full. Paul also played nearly all the instruments himself on Rushes and Electric Arguments under the name The Fireman.

The album’s cover art and typography was designed by artist Ed Ruscha, an acquaintance of the McCartney family.

The domain name was registered on 28 August 2020 by CSC Corporate Domains, the company that previously registered and (for the reissue of Flaming Pie, McCartney’s 1997 studio album). Its landing page originally appeared with a 303 error notice, instead of the usual 404 error notice.

On Friday, 16 October, teasers for the album started appearing on Spotify with animations over the artwork for McCartney and McCartney II showing a die with three pips facing upwards. The following week, Paul McCartney’s Twitter account started posting photos at 33 minutes past the hour with a recurring motif of three. On 21 October, McCartney’s social media channels officially announced the forthcoming release of the album on 11 December. On 19 November, it was announced that due to unforeseeable production delays, the album release date had to be moved back one week to 18 December.

Starting from 4 December 2020, McCartney send via his Facebook page the first post of a series of 12 daily posts unveiling the titles of each of the 11 new tracks from his new album through murals painted in 12 different cities all over the world. Each mural is showing the title of a new track, an excerpt from its music score and its author (Paul McCartney) along with the album title and its release date. Also, McCartney is calling all musicians to post their video covers of his 11 new songs through his pages.

Recorded solo during lockdown in March, McCartney III reflect a wider pandemic-inspired shift.
McCartney III acts as a signifier and motivation for what can be achieved.

The opening “Long Tailed Winter Bird”, a blues beat, is essentially five minutes of McCartney fingerpicking a guitar over a basic rock foundation that edges near jam territory as he chimes in with “Do you miss me?” from time to time. He immediately follows that with the fuller “Find My Way,” which sounds like indie-rock filtered through his more traditional instincts, is a Beck-like future-pop sizzler laced with echoes of ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ brass and Wings-style hula-rock riffs,… “You never used to be afraid of days like this and now you’re overwhelmed by your anxiety,” he sings on ‘Find My Way’.

“Deep Deep Feeling” , Eight-minute piece (“You know that deep, deep feeling when you feel your heart is gonna burst… ”) it’s built around a rhythmic electro-noir woven from Portishead strings, and pianos.

McCartney III is like that, jumping from one style to another while never really settling on a theme or groove. There are love songs, throwback rockers, “Lavatory Lil” (“You think she’s being friendly but she’s looking for a Bentley”…) that sound like McCartney is having a ball.

He even gets to work out some aggression on “Slidin’,” a “Helter Skelter”-type rocker that springboards from a simple riff and eventually pulls everything else, including a tough McCartney vocal, and then that moves straight into “The Kiss of Venus,” the album’s airiest track, an lovely acoustic moment, inspired by an astrology book Paul was given by Jools Holland’s wife. The Pepper-esque ‘Seize The Day’, ‘Women And Wives’, a wise and austere piano shuffle, the melodic motif from “Long Tailed Winter Bird” repeats itself in the album’s closer, “Winter Bird – When Winter Comes,” a folky farmer’s lament about building fences to protect livestock, digging ditches to drain carrot patches and facing a stark, remote winter when “food is scarce”, the song is a serene and hopeful end to both the album and year.


  1. “Women and Wives (Studio Outtake)”
  2. “Lavatory Lil (Studio Outtake)”
  3. “The Kiss of Venus (Phone Demo)”
  4. “Slidin’ (Düsseldorf Jam/With Rusty Anderson & Abe Laboriel Jr)”

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