Despite over five decades of performing and touring under his belt, Paul McCartney returns with a new fire in “Egypt Station.”
McCartney has long since proved his capabilities in creating infectious melodies with intriguing stories, with hits such as “Live And Let Die” and “Penny Lane.” While past albums such as “New” and “Kisses On The Bottom” remain strong outings for McCartney, ultimately there is the appearance of lost passion in his voice. With “Egypt Station,” a new fervor is felt deep within his voice and his music. Each track is sung from a man who has a deep love for the music he writes, and it feels as though this is the first album in a while that is truly McCartney's own.
From the opening moments, the audience is treated with the best track on the album, “I Don't Know.” This nostalgic soft-rock piano ballad indulges in the hopelessness of life and the attempt to regain control. Reminiscent of classic Beatles tunes, like “Hey Jude,” “I Don't Know” stands tall as the strongest track on the album.
Following this tender piece, comes the antithesis of the soft and sentimental. “Come On To Me” is a raunchy powerhouse of a song that explores McCartney's younger years as a single man. He meets a woman who begins to lead him on, as the narrator sings “I don't see the point resisting your temptations.”
“Egypt Station” finds the listener traveling around the world, capturing snippets of sound from different cultures. An example of this is “Back In Brazil,” which takes the music style from the country of its namesake and tells the story of a woman who dreams of a better existence. As her life progresses, she begins a family that she loves, yet an underlying melancholy remains. This unique view is one grounded in reality and avoids romanticizing the tropes that many pop songs praise.
While this new release contains the superb McCartney style storytelling, it is not without its politically charged songs. “Despite Repeated Warnings” details a ship captain who refuses to adhere to warnings of danger on his charted course. This parallels McCartney's concern with climate change and how he believes the human race is ignoring “repeated warnings” of an impending problem.
With the endless amount of praise that can be had for “Egypt Station,” one possible drawback is that there is a more modern pop production throughout the album. Greg Kurstin, a modern pop producer who has worked with acts such as Adele, Sia and Kendrick Lamar, partners up with McCartney to add a contemporary pop flare to the sound that many recognize. While the more modern approach opens a refreshing and new ground for McCartney to explore, many long time fans may feel isolated from the former Beatle's sound.
The euphony of sounds that “Egypt Station” provides, develops an unique and multilayered soundscape with introspective and politically relevant lyrics. Coupled with a rejuvenation in McCartney's voice, this new release quickly establishes itself as his best in years.
Noah Estes is a 2018 graduate of Bartlesville High School and a student at Rogers State University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on his YouTube channel, SMEB Reviews.