It was just a few days ago that I posted my thoughts on the release of Paul McCartney’s terrific new album “McCartney III”. Since that time the album has gone to the No. 1 spot on the UK charts and will most likely place in the Top 3 in the U.S. charts next week.
That’s really pretty impressive. Or is it?
You see the “McCartney III” album has come out in several different color editions both on vinyl as well as CD. The CD variations are certainly interesting and while I am an obsessed collector I have to admit the release strategy for this album is a bit puzzling.
It seems that the “McCartney III” release campaign is aimed at getting the album to place high in the charts as most hardcore fans will buy multiple copies just to collect the multiple variations thus improving the albums chart placement.
Believe me, I thought I was being excessive buying the variations I’m showing you today but trust me there are many more variations out there that I didn’t end up buying!
This brings me back to today’s post. I thought I’d share the most interesting CD variations I own so far and post some photos here so folks can see what’s out there or just shake there heads at the sheer craziness of these various versions.
The most interesting of the new variations are four different dice colors in single cardboard sleeves that come directly (and exclusively) from Paul McCartney’s Website (paulmccartney.com) – the yellow dice cover, the blue dice cover, the red dice cover and another white dice cover.
What makes these particular CDs so enticing is not the color variations but the fact that each CD includes an exclusive bonus track. The yellow dice cover CD includes “Women and Wives (Studio Outtake)”, the blue includes “Slidin’ (Dusseldorf Jam)”, the red includes “Lavatory Lil (Studio Outtake)” while the white dice CD cover contains “The Kiss of Venus (Phone Demo)”.
Why on earth include one bonus track per color CD? My only conclusion is to make sure the charts reflect more sales and a higher showing for the album. These four colored dice CDs are also available in more expensive packages including t-shirts and dice as well as other goodies but luckily they were also available just as single CDs as well at least in the US.
Speaking as a McCartney fan the advent of tracking down rare bonus tracks dates back to the 1980s. Many European CD singles of that era contained exclusive bonus tracks so the practice of getting these nuggets isn’t really that foreign to me but I have to admit this is a bit much – though quite frankly I did enjoy purchasing them so I guess I’m really to blame for them coming out in the first place.
(Note: Truth be told I’m quite happy with these colored CDs so all’s well that ends well – at least for me).
As for the bonus tracks, here’s my thoughts on them:
“Women and Wives (Studio Outtake)” – a very nice alternate take with some bits left out of the finished track including some bonus lyrics and different instrumental breaks. Very nice though not as good as the finished track but different enough to be interesting
“Slidin’ (Dusseldorf Jam)” – This sounds like it came from a soundcheck jam before a concert and is a very atmospheric instrumental take of the song and quite excellent. This is my favorite of the four bonus tracks
“Lavatory Lil (Studio Outtake)” – An interesting acoustic take of the song. I actually like the acoustic approach to the song a bit better but McCartney’s vocal here sounds a bit too rough. If it had a stronger vocal I’d prefer it to the finished take but nice to have as it’s a nice variation
“The Kiss of Venus (Phone Demo)” – My second favorite of the four bonus tracks. This demo, despite having unfinished lyrics, has a very nice McCartney vocal that sounds a bit stronger to me than the completed studio take. Very nice to have and a gem to add to the McCartney canon
I’m happy that at least these four bonus tracks are available in a physical format. Most likely there will be some sort of super deluxe version of “McCartney III” in the near future but if not at least these lovely demos and outtakes made there way out of McCartney’s vaults.
The other variation I have today is an exclusive CD version available only at Target stores. This CD comes with a groovy green color of dice and a very nice alternate photo of McCartney on the rear cover. Too bad the four bonus tracks weren’t all added to this version but all four are being made available together on a limited Japanese SHM-CD which I will be covering soon.
Well, there you have it. I thought it might be fun to see some of the interesting variations of this CD that are available. As usual you can check out some photos of these CDs above and below.
That’s all for now. Future blog posts will highlight some vinyl versions of “McCartney III” as well as the Japanese SHM-CD.
Take care and if I don’t post before then have a safe and happy New Year!