Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station

Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station October 3, 2018

In contrast to the endless recycling of oldie goldies by Three Dog Night etc. Paul McCartney is an example of the opposite end of the spectrum— endless creativity and new songs. This is truly remarkable for someone who could easily rest on his laurels…and what a large bed of laurels he has to rest on since the early 1960s. But no….. Sir Paul must Ram On. Now it has to be admitted that Paul’s voice isn’t all it used to be. There’s more of a quaver than there used to be, especially in the upper range. But the roughness of the voice in places actually suits some of the newer songs.

This album is a more diverse and rough-edged collection of tunes in compared to the slick, highly polished last lp— NEW. And one could even suggest that Egypt Station is something of a concept album…. with Station I taking one down the track to Station II…. in due course. And beyond. It is quite the interesting ride. Like with numerous previous solo projects, Paul plays all the string instruments, keyboards etc. But he brings in a church choir and the horn boys from Muscle Shoals when he needs them. There is a nice mix of more acoustic and more rock n roll numbers… and some big surprises. Like who saw a tune like Back in Brazil coming, or a trilogy song that serves as a potent political critique of our (and Britain’s) current administrations called ‘Despite Repeated Warnings’ about a captain steering a boat in disastrous and dangerous directions, ‘despite repeated warnings’. The protest song People Want Peace is less effective. There are nice love songs like Happy with You or Hand in Hand or Caesar Rock (She’s a Rock) and even lust songs like Fuh You (see Why Don’t We Do it in the Road) or Come On to Me. And yes there are rock out numbers like the 3 part finale— Hunt You Down (see Junior’s Farm).

It is not as if Paul is like a painter simply trying a variety of things, throwing up on the wall and seeing what sticks. But there is an experimental character to this album which is brave. And there is a wistfulness to several numbers especially the opening number— I Don’t Know and Dominoes. This is one of those albums one needs to listen to several times over before really taking in what is happening. Sometimes you hear a song that sounds like it belongs on Magical Mystery Tour, sometimes it sounds like songs that never made it onto the Band on the Run album. In any case, it’s very well worth the listen. Paul has by no means fired his last bullet, and at this point he’s not all that interested in polishing his gun. But who cares as he asks in one song. It’s all good whether it’s White Album Paul or Ram Paul or some permutation and combination of things that have gone before. All I know is… I’m happy to ride on Paul’s train to Egypt Station…. or right on into the sunset. Keep on rollin and rockin….

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