Paul McCartney: Egypt Station (2018)
Egypt Station is the first studio album of original material from Paul McCartney, since 2013. The album was produced by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, Foo Fighters) with the exception of one track (Fuh You) which was produced by Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic).
During the promotional event "Casual Conversation”, Paul McCartney described Egypt Station as a concept album. Like most fans, I was both excited and nervous at the prospect of McCartney delivering a concept album. Would it be a game changer like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Band on the Run? Or would it end up being a guilty pleasure like Back to the Egg? Needless to say, as with each release from Macca, my curiosity was peaked.
Well, after sitting down and giving a couple of listens to the record, I’m not totally convinced that Egypt Station is a full-fledged concept album. I see it more as an experimental or adventurous kind of record. I mean, there is a story about where the songs emanate from, but that’s basically it. There is no real interconnecting or underlying theme that runs through the record.
Reading up on the album, the concept behind Egypt Station is that of a fictional travelogue in which the album starts off at the station, on the first song and then each song is like a different station capturing an emotion, place, or moment of the journey. With that being said, Egypt Station may not be the second coming of Sgt. Pepper, but it’s still an engaging listen that reveals Macca’s desire to experiment without losing his unquestionable ability to create sweet melodies. Egypt Station covers all the bases that most fans expect; it has solid rockers (Come On To Me, Who Cares, Caesar Rock), melancholic pop songs (I Don’t Know), silly love songs (Happy With You), and semi-political pop songs (People Want Peace). But it’s the second half of Egypt Station that is going to delight Beatles and Wings fans. The album takes an interesting turn with acoustic mid-tempo track called Dominoes; an acoustic number that builds for almost five minutes, and ends with with an old-school backwards guitar solo that sounds very reminiscent to Tomorrow Never Knows from Revolver. The album continues to deliver with two epic 6 plus minute long medley-style album closers- the prog-pop track; Despite Repeated Warnings and the Abbey Road-like suite Hunt You Down/Naked/C-link.
As enjoyable as Egypt station is though, the album is slightly flawed. Fuh You, the latest single off the album, is without a doubt one of the weakest tracks that Macca has ever released. It comes across as a leftover track from the latest Maroon 5 album. Then there's the salsa infused track, Back in Brazil. It really doesn't do anything to enhance the record.
Well, besides the minor missteps with Back in Brazil and Fuh You, Egypt Station is a solid album from one of the masters and will surely add a few more gems to his already impressive musical legacy. Highly recommended.