The list of artists who drew on their quarantine experiences for new music this year would already have been properly stacked with Taylor Swift, Charli XCX, and Ariana Grande. Now that list is about to become infinitely more stacked with a new Paul McCartney album, recorded under lockdown, joining the mix. McCartney III is out December 11 and follows the former Beatle’s prior self-titled efforts — his 1970 solo debut, McCartney, and his 1980 cult favorite, McCartney II. But an album celebrating the 50th anniversary of his going solo wasn’t initially part of Macca’s plan, he explained in a statement, saying McCartney III grew out of working on music for a film on his family farm during lockdown. “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,” he 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.”
The project follows McCartney’s 2018 solo album, Egypt Station, which became his first No. 1 in 36 years. Given the circumstances of lockdown — or “Rockdown,” as his release calls it — McCartney III is set to be a sparser album performed only by McCartney in mostly live takes of the songs. The opening and closing tracks are built on an unreleased song from the ’90s, “When Winter Comes,” according to the release. What better timing for a new album, then?