Paul McCartney’s new album Egypt Station has been getting rave reviews around the world. Most critics have been writing four star reviews of the album. It’s great to see the positive reviews because critics have not always been kind to Paul McCartney’s solo work. However we don’t agree with the four star reviews. Egypt Station is a five star record. At 76 years old, Paul McCartney displays once again why he is simply popular music’s most prolific composer of all time. Great albums sound better with each repeated play. Egypt Station is one of those records that becomes incredibly addicting. In these days of streaming, and having access to every song ever written, we have lost the practice of wearing out records. Egypt Station is one of those records that would have had you buying another vinyl copy because your needle ripped it to shreds from repeated plays.
Egypt Station open with a short instrumental entitled “Opening Station.” The musical piece is less than a minute long and consists of strings and a choir. It is not a piece that stands on its own but rather serves as the opening to the record. Its musical character portrays a sort of landing piece that sets up the albums diverse musical styles. Opening Station segues into one of the albums finest tracks entitled I Don’t Know.
“I Don’t Know,” was released as the first single from the album Egypt Station. It is clear that Paul McCartney’s 2012 release Kisses On The Bottom may have had a profound impact on some of Paul McCartney’s writing. Kisses On The Bottom was a standards album. On the album Egypt Station, the single “I Don’t Know,” employs the use of the ninth tone which is a significant attribute in jazz music. The song I Don’t Know sounds like nothing Paul McCartney has ever released before. The song combines Paul McCartney’s wonderful gift of melody wrapped in jazz harmonics nestled on an additive piano comp. During one of the song’s beautiful breaks, listeners can hear McCartney breath the word “yeah,” Paul McCartney’s expression signifies that McCartney was realizing just how special this song is.
The song “I Don’t Know,” was released not just as the album’s first single but also as part of a double single releases. The album’s third track “Come On To Me,” was part of what Capitol Records double A side single. Like 2013’s great single New, Come On To Me would have sounded great on any Beatles album. This is great songwriting; it’s pop perfection. If we were living in the era in which radio used to play music other than hip hop and rap, these new Paul McCartney songs would become staples of pop culture like so many of the Beatles classics did. However, times have changed and so sadly these great records can get lost.
There are so many great tracks on the Egypt Station album. The track Dominos echos the Sound of Paul McCartney’s Beatles work probably more than any other track on the LP. The song’s versu bleeds Beatles, while the chorus echos some of his late 1970s Wings material. The tender ballad Happy With You is vintage Paul McCartney solo material wrapped in simplistic lyrics driven by beautiful melody and a tender vocal performance. The song “Fuh You,” is one of the most amusing tracks on the LP as McCartney delivers a lyric that seems quite surprising for Paul McCartney.
It really does not make sense to use the word growth when referring to Paul McCartney as a songwriter so we will refrain from that expression. However, the song “Back In Brazil,” defines a songs that showcases a more serious side of Paul McCartney’s songwriting both from a lyrical and musical perspective. It is one of the most interesting pieces Paul McCartney has composed and recorded in the past thirty years.
Paul McCartney has released 30 studio albums since the breakup of The Beatles. Fans and critics have their favorites but albums like McCartney in 1970 Band On The Run in 1975 and Tug Of War in 1982 seem to appear on everyone’s list. After listening to Egypt Sation many will argue that Egypt Station stands among one of his finest. We most certainly feel that way.