Photo courtesy of Capitol Records
Story by Max Leach / Contributing Writer
If there’s anyone who knows how to make an album, it’s Paul McCartney. A man who requires minimal introduction, McCartney’s 17th solo album, “Egypt Station,” is one that is both vulnerable and soul-warming. Leading up to its release, the three tracks that introduced us to “Egypt Station” left fans and Beatles nerds alike skeptical of what would be planted into the legend’s discography. Singles like “Fuh You” were accredited with being “too poppy” or contemporary-sounding, and, in the minds of some fans, painted a worrisome picture for what the former Beatle was setting out to accomplish with his newest release.
Five years after “New,” McCartney’s latest album carries a spirit familiar to us all. McCartney is a man who knows that every move he makes will be largely criticized. After all, he’s spent the majority of his life living in the public eye. His influence as an artist has undeniably shaped music into what it is today, leaving one to admire his dedication and work ethic, even at 76 years old. “Egypt Station” accomplishes everything that you want him to stand for, making art for art’s sake – for his sake. He’s a man who has nothing to prove and one whose most loyal fans view him as a god.
In “Egypt Station,” McCartney reminds us that he is human, however, and voices it well in the album’s second track, “I Don’t Know.” Following the ambient album opener, fittingly named “Opening Station,” “I Don’t Know” invites the listener into a world they can relate to, sharing his thoughts of self-doubt and aiming to connect with his audience on an intimate level. He declares, “I got crows out my window/ Dogs at my door/ I don’t think I can take any more / What am I doing wrong?/ I don’t know.” You think Paul would be someone who’s got it all figured out, but he begs to differ.
Some of his sentiments are more playful, however, such as on the song “Happy With You.” The song’s simplistic approach maintains the same level of revelation that we heard earlier but on a more cutesy, romantic level. He shares that he can live honestly and is at peace with his life and the people in it. This song is effortless in sharing his true feelings and, although simple, it successfully illustrates that Paul is still writing just to write. He doesn’t have to cater to anyone’s preferences or tastes anymore, and he voices this notion in the next track, “Who Cares.”
Facing much-preconceived criticism in the wake of his single releases, “Egypt Station” debunks the fears that fans had before its entire release. The work as a whole deems itself as a proper McCartney album. There’s a warm, sonic clarity in this album that shares the spirit that’s evolved from the Beatles, through Wings and into his more recent solo endeavors. You can hear the growing delicacy of his voice, which adds profundity to his words by reminding us of his transience. To call it a “proper McCartney album” doesn’t mean that it’s flawless. Rather, “Egypt Station” accomplishes that status by proclaiming the endurance of a talent that will remain timeless for generations to come.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Sydney Wagner, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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