Discovering new music from upcoming artists is always exciting and novel, but
sometimes the discovery of still-active old-school artists can be an adventure in itself. And even
in 2020, many classic rock artists of the ’60s, ’70s, and ‘80s are still releasing new albums. Here
are a few albums from vintage rockers to listen to (and look out for) in the coming months.
McCartney III – Paul McCartney
McCartney, a rock n’ roll prodigy and former member of the Beatles, has been in the
music scene since the ’60s with original songs and virtuosic performances. His first solo album
from 1970, McCartney, features McCartney performing on all instruments, vocals, as well as
writing, recording, and producing all the songs. He followed up with another solo effort,
McCartney II, in 1980. And now, McCartney III, conceived 40 years after its predecessors,
comes out on December 11th, so mark your calendars!
McCartney III, an album made entirely by Paul McCartney during the COVID-19
lockdown, is truly remarkable. It was written, recorded, and produced while McCartney was
alone in his home in Sussex. He was able to record each part of each song separately (vocal,
piano, bass, drum, and guitar tracks) while also overdubbing previous recordings to layer and
build the songs from the ground up.
It’s truly exciting to hear what this rock legend will bring to the music scene with
McCartney III! For now, here’s the official album teaser:
Letter To You – Bruce Springsteen
Released on October 23, 2020, this studio album burns with new life. Springsteen’s
vocal range, iconic gravelly voice, and catchy rhymes on the top track “Letter To You” are
something to behold. In contrast to the vigor of other tracks, “One Minute You’re Here” is a
slower-paced song featuring soft acoustic guitar accompaniment and gentle synthesizer drones.
“The Power Of Prayer” brings the album back to its former spirits as an upbeat song with a
charming piano intro, a classic rock ensemble (guitar, bass, drums), and even a few signature
Overall, this album provides a lovely balance of optimistic energy and melancholy
emotions. Springsteen’s music takes on a stronger “country-esque” tone in this album compared
with some of his more famous songs from the ‘80s. Letter To You features strong southern
accented vocals, country instrumentation, and Christian themes on tracks like “The Power Of
Prayer” and “If I Was The Priest”. But on the whole, Springsteen stays true to his original sound
in this album–some songs even sprinkle in tributes to the classic ‘80s organ synthesizers that
were prevalent in his earlier music.
26 East, Vol. 1 – Dennis DeYoung
This album is the work of Dennis DeYoung, founder and lead vocalist of the classic rock
band Styx. It was released on May 20, 2020.
The name of the album, 26 East, is a reference to 26 E. 101st Place in Roseland, IL,
where DeYoung grew up and the Styx were first formed. And as you may have guessed, this
album is full of nostalgia. Many of the tracks on the album sound as if they were written and
produced in the 70s, staying true to the progressive rock sounds of the time–old synthesizers,
electric guitars, heavy drums, and loud vocals.
However, this album offers a fresh perspective as well, with lyrical commentary on the
current state of America in 2020 in “With All Due Respect” and “A Kingdom Ablaze”. Following
these tracks, we have “You My Love” and “Run for the Roses” which are classic, slow rock
ballads that Styx are known for.
“To the Good Old Days” is one of the album’s best and most defining tracks. It is a ballad
featuring Julien Lennon, a musician and the son of John Lennon. Both Lennon and DeYoung
sing together on this track, longing for the good old days, with a slow-moving piano behind
them. Finally, the album closes with “A.D. 2020”–a short song with a message: music never