On Egypt Station, Paul McCartney is a man experiencing life midstream
We gave it a B+
If Paul McCartney keeps a bucket list, what could possibly be left on it? A walk on the moon, maybe, or the prototype for eternal life, graciously bestowed by some bleeding-edge biotech lab in Silicon Valley in return for services rendered to mankind.
There are only so many new adventures, after all, for a living legend already guaranteed a forever place on the face of rockâs Mount Rushmore; an artist knighted, canonized, and adored in nearly every obscure corner of the globe for more than half a century. And yet, in public and on record, he is somehow still everybodyâs Paul â" the scrappy kid from Liverpool who appeared on a special hometown edition of âCarpool Karaokeâ this past June, contentedly tootling his harmonica in an empty bus shelter, playing a surprise greatest-hits set at a l ocal pub, and making James Corden cry for his grandpa in the middle of a âLet It Beâ duet.
On Egypt Stationâs loping, contemplative opener âI Donât Know,â heâs also a man racked, almost convincingly, with self-doubt: âI got crows at my window, dogs at my door/I donât think I can take anymore/What am I doing wrong? I donât know.â But heâs too sanguine not to cap it with a reassuring âItâs alright, sleep tight,â and move right along to the rollicking âCome On to Me,â an electrified doot-doo-doo stomper as libidinous as anything a 76-year-old this side of Little Richard has slid into, and âHappy With You,â a melodious little ode to the woman who made him want to be a better man. (âI sat around all day, I liked to get stoned/I liked to get wasted, but these days I donât/âcause Iâm happy with you.â)
In the press notes, McCartney extols the virtues of âthe âalbumâ albums we used to make,â and Station has a loose jukebox quality that still feels thematic, even as he moves through moods and sounds. The modern magpie sensibility of Grammy-winning producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck) gilds the handclap chorus of exalted piano anthem âFuh You,â while jaunty sing-along âPeople Want Peaceâ rips a page directly from John Lennonâs bed-in playbook. The delicate, pirouetting âHand in Handâ comes on like a bittersweet âBlackbirdâ redux; breezy bossa nova shuffle âBack in Brazilâ feels like something David Byrne might turn out on a sunny SÃ£o Paulo weekend. And âCaesar Rockâ is all early Hamburg sessions, a giddy shout from the basement of a garage-band jam.
The song list contains 16 tracks total, counting its bookending instrumentals, and itâs a long shot, probably, that any of them will join the pantheon. As with any artist of McCartneyâs age and caliber, the specter of an iconic catalog canât help but han g over the current work, particularly when so few like him remain. For some of his peers, that sense of legacy tended to become the locus of the material, or at least heavy subtext; on their elegiac late-career albums, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie grappled with mortality and loss in a way that felt in many ways like a deliberate farewell.
But for all its reflection, Station (recorded in part at Abbey Road) feels like the output of a man still experiencing life midstream. And while McCartney has undergone a kind of pop culture resurgence over the past decade â" dueting with Kanye and Rihanna, drumming for the Foo Fighters, dancing in the VIP balcony at BeyoncÃ© gigs â" heâs done it all with a sort of serene elder-statesman dignity. Thereâs no sense on this record that he needs to pander to the kids; no Drake cameo or strenuously pop-charty production.
Instead, the album is content to mine the Technicolor mind of its creat or: alternately playful and earnest, melancholy and resilient, but always immutably himself â" the still-vital life force of a superstar who has been there and everywhere and is glad just to be here now. B+Source: Google News Egypt | Netizen 24 Egypt