“Egypt Station” (a review) – Paul McCartney returns! … and well worth the wait!!

 

 

 

 

While today was a mixture of good and bad – I hate cars just sayin’ – and while it won’t go down as one of my best days ever I did manage to get a hold of a copy of Paul McCartney’s new CD entitled “Egypt Station” three days before its official release date!!! Yay!!!

Okay, in my mind that makes it a great day overall so without further delay I’m going to take you through my first listen so those who are curious as to what it sounds like can get some kind of feel for what to expect.

(Note: of course you’re all buying it right lol!)

First off, I have to say that I love the cover and title. The cover is taken from two McCartney paintings called Egypt Station I and Egypt Station II. I’ve read online that some think it looks like George Harrison’s album “Gone Troppo” which I guess it does but I just love the Egyptian and mystical feel of the painting and love the theme of the album – a journey thorough some sort of mystical train station of life.

(Note 2: This is the regular version of the CD without bonus tracks. More on the bonus tracks and “Egypt Station” vinyl in a future post!)

Okay, the first issue of this CD comes with what’s called a “Limited Edition Concertina” cover which folds open to reveal the full Egypt Station paintings as well as lyrics and photos.

The inner sleeve which holds the CD was shrink wrapped which was odd but overall the cover is lovely and the red sash wrapped around the concertina cover was also a nice touch (see photos above).

It’s been five years since Paul McCartney has released an album of new music so I’ve been eagerly waiting for this new music and I must say was well worth the wait.

Unlike 2013’s “New” which featured several producers and was quite slick and modern sounding, I would say “Egypt Station” is definitely more earthy and quirky sounding and very much like McCartney’s album “Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard” mixed with Wings – at least in my mind.

This new album feels more low key and sounds more personal to me than the songs on “New”.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of what sounds a bit experimental mixed with nice instrumentation and orchestration (and quirkiness) yet this album feels more personal sounding, more restrained and less overly polished than “New”.

Because the album was mainly produced by one guy – Greg Kurstin – it forms more of a whole and seems less disjointed and is very much like McCartney’s 2005 album “Chaos” as I mentioned above but with fuller production touches that hint at The Beatles and Wings quite a lot, in my humble opinion.

My first impressions of the songs on “Egypt Station”:

Opening Station  – sound of train station and people which segues into next track …

I Don’t Know – still love this song, great instrumental work, very “Chaos” Paul. (8 out of 10)

Come On to Me – nice song, has grown on me since it was first issued a few  weeks ago. Love the sound and production of this track. (7 out of 10)

Happy With You – like others have said this is very similar to “Calico Skies” from McCartney’s 1997 album “Flaming Pie”. Lovely acoustic song, lyrics are much more frank/personal than McCartney usually gets. (9 out of 10, one of my favorite songs on the album)

Who Cares – nice Jim Hendrix intro. Love the lyrics. Nice cross between Wings and “Chaos” era Paul. Nice tune, very bouncy pop with a bite and nice organ stabs. Would have made a nice single, very relevant in this time of online comments on every Website. (8 out of 10)

Fuh You – I’ve warmed to this song dramatically from the first time I heard it. I hated it the first time I listened to it but its now grown on me to the point where I really enjoy it. Still the goofy Fuh You joke is sort of lame but not a bad track. Definitely modern Paul pop. Lyrics could be better but not bad. (7 out of 10)

Confidante – acoustic song like other reviews have said. Nice vocals from Paul. Supposedly written about his guitar. Reminds me of ELP vocally but really nice McCartney acoustic track. Hints of “Off the Ground” era as well. (7 out of 10)

People Want Peace – love the sound of this track. Almost sounds like Paul is an announcer, lovely strings. Nice vocal from Paul. Still hear lots of “Chaos” on this one. Much nicer than the similar themed “C’mon People” from “Off the Ground” in 1993. Nice pop track. (7 out of 10)

Hand in Hand – another “Chaos” sounding piano track. Good wedding song, a little sad sounding with more nice strings. Paul sounds weary vocally but nice. Love the flute like sound. (7 out of 10)

Dominoes – really nice Paul vocals on this one. Wings reborn, very 70s pop sound. Acoustic pop again. Jeff Lynne touches on the vocals and production. Love the electric guitar near the end. (7 and 1/2 out of 10)

Back in Brazil – nice jaunty track. Very like Biker Like an Icon but more interesting. Not what I was expecting but I like it actually. More atmosphere than story but fun. Hints of early 80’s “McCartney II” Paul experimentation. (7 out of 10)

Do It Now – reminds me of listening to a music box in intro.  Paul piano track. Slightly repetitive but lovely song. “Chaos” era again but strong Paul vocal. Actually sounds like 70s pop, reminded me of a Partridge Family track in spots – seriously. That’s a good thing for me lol. Love the silky vocals at the end. (8 out of 10)

Caesar Rock – nice Brian Wilson influenced pop track. Weird yet accessible. “Ram” era like vocal from Paul, think “Oh Woman, Oh Why”. Lyrics are slight but nice groove. (6 out of 10)

Despite Repeated Warnings – very cool track! Love this one! Great vocals, nice twists. Mini suite of songs. A bit of “Wanderlust” mixed with a Lennon like piano and vocal to begin then a nice upbeat middle followed by a nice horn driven (or synth?) bit with rock guitar and strings. Reminds me of Lennon and Wings – Plastic Ono McCartney! (9 out of 10)

Station II – more train station atmosphere with an Alice in Wonderland or Harry Potter twist followed directly by …

Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link– love this track. What I would call a Wings track. Reminds me of “Red Rose Speedway” and “It’s Not True” mixed together. One of my favorite tracks on the album! (9 out of 10)

 

Overall I would give the album a solid 8 out of 10. There are no real stinkers in the set and quite a lot of really solid tracks. I was surprised at how low key the album felt as the preview singles were a bit more modern sounding but I think the album as a whole feels like classic McCartney and I’m sure will grow on me even more with each listen.
I love the sound of the album – lovely instrumentation and production throughout and a really nice collection of McCartney songs.

I would say toward the middle of the album there was a bit of sameness to a couple of the songs but nothing that I really disliked and three songs that I think are just terrific.

 

So pleased with this new collection of McCartney magic and can’t wait to see how these songs age with me.
McCartney albums usually get better the more time I spend with them and I look forward to seeing how this album stacks up over time.
As for now, I  have to say I really think its a strong album!

Until next time be well and run out and buy some “Egypt Station”!!!

3 thoughts on ““Egypt Station” (a review) – Paul McCartney returns! … and well worth the wait!!

      1. I think your review was spot on. Maybe a point higher on some, like Caesar Rock, which is growing to be one of my favorites. Over-all another great collection of songs with, maybe, I Don’t Know being the masterpiece of the album.

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