Paul McCartney’s brand new album Egypt Station has just been released and it’s a delight.
Egypt Station is McCartney’s 17th studio album since The Beatles. At 76 years old and with a net worth of $1.2 billion, it’s hardly as if he is making music because he needs the money. Instead, it feels like he is continuing to create music out of a profound compulsion and commitment to the art and you can sense this in the music. It’s music which has nothing left to prove, it’s just happy to be out there making anyone smile who chooses to listen.
The album opens gently and the second track “I Don’t Know” has a beautiful piano intro and dips into lush melodies. Yes, McCartney’s voice has aged and it wavers at times. That said, the gruff tone to his voice has charm and it often adds to the music.
The mood of the album shifts throughout. While the opening tracks are melancholy and sing of the rain, “Come To Me” is upbeat and closes with a lively brass outro. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser and has that ‘summer festival’ feel.
“Happy With You” is also incredibly uplifting. The guitar licks will please any Beatles fan and the lyrics speak to any old rocker who has put the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle behind them and has settled into companionship and peace of mind. The song is a happy ending in old age.
Not all the songs are as engaging as the first half. “Fuh You” is a catchy pop song at best and his voice doesn’t suit the music as much as you’d expect from a McCartney track. It’s a good song but sounds more like a tune he would write for a younger boy band than a song which speaks his soul.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s “Who Cares” which is gritty and laced with rock ‘n’ roll. The title ‘Who Cares’ would sound incredibly angst if sung by an angry 21st Century punk band like IDLES or Slaves. McCartney, however, is not posing the question ‘Who Cares?’ but answering it. “But I know how you feel” he sings, reminding listeners that no matter how it feels, there is “Always somebody who cares”.
At 16 tracks, the album is quite long and it will definitely take a few listens to get to grips with it and discover your favorite track. There are plenty of great moments to come back to, like his sexy guitar solo in ‘Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Lick’, for example.
With its shifting moods, eclectic styles, and powerfully positive lyrics, Egypt Station is an album which celebrates what an artist can do when he knows he no longer has anything to prove.