Egypt Station (Album Review)
Egypt Station is the 17th solo studio album (yes, yes you heard that right) of Sir Paul McCartney. Having been a celebrity almost his entire life, being an actual Beetle and a patriarch of western popular music/culture; Sir Paul McCartney does not need any introduction.
Now being in his seventies, Paul should be lounging around in his mansions, celebrating his achievements (probably sampling the finest marijuana strains), with the assurance that his status as the father of western popular music is secure. But no, not Paul. He’s always hungry for more and driven by the belief that his next big hit might be around the corner. Paul has been creating amazing music since 1958 and still doing it today, he is a badass and in a class of his own.
The name Egypt Station is shared from one of his paintings from 1988, from which the cover art is derived. The album was produced by Greg Kurstin and co-produced by McCartney. It was his first release since his 2013 record New, and it debuted atop the Billboard 200.
Egypt Station starts and ends with an ambient railway-station noise. The whole album is designed like a long ride on a cosmic train, each song is a separate station stop on a journey that makes up the whole album. Each song focuses on a particular sound or subject matter before the ‘train pulls out of the station’.
Regarding the inspiration of the album’s title and theme, McCartney said, “I like the words ‘Egypt Station’. It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make… Egypt Station starts off at the station in the first song, and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from.”
Egypt Station received favorable reviews from music critics; Metacritic gave the album a score of 74/100 based on 25 reviews. Dun Stubbs from NME gave the album 4 out of 5 stars saying, “McCartney’s always been about inclusivity and openness, but this glimpse into his life feels like a particularly enlightened one.”
Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone gave the album a four-star rating claiming, “Make a list of songwriters who were composing great tunes in 1958. Now make an overlapping list of the ones who are still writing brilliant music in 2018. Your list reads: Paul McCartney.
Classic Rock History wrote, “This is great songwriting; it’s pop perfection. If we were living in the era in which radio used to play music other than hip hop and rap, these new Paul McCartney songs would become staples of pop culture like so many of the Beatles classics did. However, times have changed and so sadly these great records can get lost.”
The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard on 22 September, 2018 earning 153,000 album equivalent units (of which 147,000 were pure album sales). It was his first number one since Tug of War in 1982, as well as his eighth number one album overall debut and his first to debut atop the chart.
- I Don’t Know, is a plaintive, soul-soothing ballad that only Paul is capable of delivering. It was released as a double A-side single alongside Come On To Me.
I got crows at my window, dogs at my door
I don’t think I can take any more
What am I doing wrong? I don’t know
My brother told me, “life’s not a pain”
That was right when it started to rain
Where am I going wrong? I don’t know
- Come On To Me, raucous stomper that fans that first spark of chemistry into a rocking blaze.
I saw you flash a smile, that seemed to me to say
You wanted so much more than casual conversation
I swear I caught a look before you turned away
Now I don’t see the point resisting your temptationDid you come on to me, will I come on to you?
If you come on to me, will I come on to you?
- Happy With You. this song talks about Paul being happy in the company of his partner, it has personal revelations too.
I sat around all day
Used to get stoned
I liked to get wasted
But these days I don’t
‘Cause I’m happy with you
I got lots of good things to do, ooh yeah