Paul McCartney may not be able to tour behind his “McCartney III” album, but he’s finding other ways to keep the material from that December record alive. On April 16, he’ll release the 2.0 version of “III” — officially known as “McCartney III Imagined,” a “curated” collection of covers or remixes from an eclectic mixture of younger artists.
The roster includes Phoebe Bridgers, Beck, St. Vincent, Anderson .Paak, Damon Albarn, Blood Orange, Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age, Dominic Fike, 3D RDN from Massive Attack, Khruangbin and EOB, better known as Ed O’Brien of Radiohead. Physical copies will include an additional track, a remix by actor-DJ Idris Elba.
Said physical copies will have to wait, though. “III Imagined” is only coming out digitally on April 16, with other formats to follow at an unspecified date in the summer. The vinyl is not being treated as an afterthought, though. Just as the December “III” album came out with too many limited-edition color and cover variants for any but the most obsessive fan to possibly collect, so will “III Imagined” also arrive in an only slightly less elaborate set of choices, with colored-vinyl exclusives set for Newberry Comics, Target, Barnes & Noble and independent record stores. (No word of a super-super-super-limited variant from Third Man this time.)
One track, “The Kiss of Venus (Dominic Fike),” is out today in audio and video form as a teaser for the album.
Although no information has been released about the other tracks beyond their titles, those names do seem to indicate that the songs fall into three categories. Fike’s R&B remake has only the artist’s name in parentheses, with no “featuring” or “remix” appended, indicating a top-to-bottom cover version; the only other track to fall into this category is Homme’s interpretation of the rocker “Lavatory Lil.”
Three other tracks are advertised as “featuring” — those with Bridgers, Beck and Khruangbin — which, in a best-guess situation, may indicate the featured artist laying in fresh vocals over McCartney’s original recording.
The other category, “remixes,” includes St. Vincent, Blood Orange, EOB, Albarn, .Paak, 3D RDN and, on physical editions, Elba all having their way with McCartney’s original recordings, in ways that may or may not include their own vocalizing.
“McCartney III” made news in December when it became the former Beatle’s first No. 1 album in the UK in 31 years. In America, ‘III’ peaked at No. 2, but that was OK — his previous album, “Egypt Station,” had given him his first U.S. No. 1 in decades.
The entirely home-made, quarantine-made album was mostly well received by critics, with Variety opining that “it’s all over the place, and delightfully so” and calling the collection “lovably ‘Ram’-shackle.”
The full “III Imagined” track list:
- Find My Way (feat. Beck)
- The Kiss of Venus (Dominic Fike)
- Pretty Boys (feat. Khruangbin)
- Women And Wives (St. Vincent Remix)
- Deep Down (Blood Orange Remix)
- Seize The Day (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
- Slidin’ (EOB Remix)
- Long Tailed Winter Bird (Damon Albarn Remix)
- Lavatory Lil (Josh Homme)
- When Winter Comes (Anderson .Paak Remix)
- Deep Deep Feeling (3D RDN Remix)
- Long Tailed Winter Bird (Idris Elba Remix) [Vinyl and CD only]