Paul McCartney

Egypt Station

Capitol

Sep 13, 2018 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

The charming father of Western pop music, Sir Paul McCartney has had a remarkable career. Not many songwriters can claim to have been in one of the most influential bands in history, written some of the most successful tunes in living memory, and still be going some 55 years later. He's been a superstar since the age of 21, and at 76 he continues the tradition of "trademarked" McCartney songwriting. Egypt Station, McCartney's 17th studio album since 1970's McCartney, fits snugly into his extensive discography: an ample mix of soaring love songs, personal and familial reflections, and lighthearted nostalgia, Egypt Station fluctuates between nods to The Beatles' body of work (the first third of "Happy With You" has an air of "Blackbird" about it), and plenty of Wings-era clevernessall of which is ready to satisfy McCartney fans young and old.

Like many of the ex-Beatles, McCartney has a fond affinity for the past. In the lead-up to this album's release, McCartney played a free show at Abbey Road Studios and The Cavern Club, and accepted a longstanding invitation on Carpool Karaoke. Moreover, the music video for the track "Fuh You" features a young lad falling in love on the dreary streets of Liverpool.

Many of the songs that appear on Egypt Station could have fit into any of McCartney's past discography. But perhaps due to McCartney's ripe age, and the fact that he's still able to perform three-hour shows and release albums of 16 tracks (all in 2018, no less), this record has a heightened sense of charm. Sure, the lyrical content on Egypt Station isn't necessarily a work of pure genius, but it's pure Paul and that means a great deal. What is genius, however, is the means by which McCartney delivers a self-proclaimed concept album in a matter of confidence that only comes with a man who practically invented the genre of heartfelt pop.

Egypt Station's big "concept" is a train journey that travels through different stations, or songs. What starts amidst the sounds of foot traffic, honks, and an angelic choir ("Opening Station"), transitions seamlessly into the opening suite and first single, the double sided "I Don't Know" and "Come on to Me." The first of these tracks attempts to paint McCartney as a vulnerable creature, trying to do what's right in life and in love; the second is a jaunty piano jam told through the eyes of a younger McCartney. The train travels onward, with help from producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, Foo Fighters) into "Happy With You"a song ostensibly about McCartney's separation from drug use and alcohol and his newfound love for a healthy marriage and fatherhood.

"Fuh You" is a cheeky love song with a forward-facing glance towards contemporary pop music, and the political anthem "People Want Peace" seems to attempt to address our collective humanist desires. Among some less engaging tracks lies the provocative "Back in Brazil," a track that samba-slaloms through some bizarre instrumentation and effects.

The train sounds come back in the penultimate track ("Station II") before we embark on the album closing medley "Hunt You Down/Naked/CLink"-a collection that demonstrates McCartney's talent for finding a line-of-best fit through three vastly different songs.

At just under an hour, Egypt Station is certainly a trek. Perhaps it's a journey that might tire some people out; but luckily, you've got the stories there to accompany you. (www.paulmccartney.com)

Author rating: 7/10

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