By Jack Conroy
In 1958 Paul McCartney wrote the soon-to-be Beatles smash hit single “Love Me Do.” Sixty years, 13 Beatles albums, seven Wings albums, and 24 solo albums later, McCartney is still cranking out new music, and with his latest release, “Egypt Station,” he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With nothing left to prove, McCartney has had the luxury to take his time and really put together a piece of work that is solid all the way through. “Egypt Station” is one of those albums that captures you right off the bat and doesn’t let your mind wander until the end. It plays as a unit, telling a story from one song to the next, even if it’s not a story you might be expecting to hear from 76 year-old McCartney.
The album opens with the sounds of a train station which fade into the ballad “I Don’t Know,” signifying the listener’s entrance onto the “musical train” that is “Egypt Station.” McCartney spends a good portion of his new album telling tales and contemplating things that seem reminiscent of a younger version of himself. For instance, “I Don’t Know” is a song about self-doubt that has McCartney exclaiming “where am I going wrong? I don’t know.” As the album goes on McCartney seems to be almost lustful. Songs like “Come On To Me,” and the album’s obvious attempt at a pop hit, “Fuh You,” are both songs wherein McCartney shows us that getting older hasn’t necessarily slowed him down when it comes to his love life (I mean, he was a Beatle after all).
All of this said, the stand out track on this album has to be “Dominoes.” The song has a dissonant yet bright acoustic hook that carries it and pairs perfectly with those signature McCartney harmonies to create an instant classic that would have made a worthy “White Album” track. The record closes with the six minute “Hunt You Down / Naked / C-Link.” This track starts off as a banging, straightforward rock track, with distorted guitars and all. As it progresses it transitions to a more “Sgt. Pepper’s”–esque style by using a completely different time signature. Before the end it changes once more into a calmer, almost hypnotizing arrangement. This blending of three completely different songs or styles, reminiscent of the end of “Abbey Road,” further proves that Paul is showing no signs of aging when it comes to his songwriting. While he continues to evolve in his sound and style, he hasn’t lost what has always made a song uniquely McCartney, and that’s what makes this album so good: it’s a fresh take from one of the best songwriters and musicians of all time. It has now been 60 years since Paul McCartney started writing music with the Beatles, and “Egypt Station” proves that Paul is still a one-of-a-kind talent.