Back in 1989, Paul McCartney’s then manager suggested that he consider calling it a career after the release of Flowers in the Dirt as McCartney had just turned 50, supposedly ancient for a rocker. Well, it’s 2018. Sir Paul is 76. And he’s still just as vital and talented as he was back in 1989. No, no. Wait a minute. As he was back in the heyday of the Beatles. And that gift for melody and unbridled, indefatigable energy is on proud display in Egypt Station, his 18th solo album (25th post-Beatles album).
Let’s be honest. McCartney really doesn’t need to do it anymore. His reputation and legacy are set in diamond. He certainly doesn’t need the money. But, like all artists, he still needs to create and he’s as dedicated to his craft now as he was at the beginning. The result is an album which I personally consider to be one of his absolute best as it combines the intelligence, weightiness, and depth of Chaos and Creation in the Backyard and merges it with the classic Macca formula.
Egypt Station is really a musical travelogue as McCartney has written a set of songs that takes us on a trip through his entire career. You’ll get Beatleslike rockers such as the nice little foot-stomper, “Come On to You” and the frothy, but fun, “Ceasar Rock”. You’ll even get a throwback to Abbey Road with the suite number of “Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link”. Journey through the era of Wings with the 70s style “Who Cares” and “Despite Repeated Warnings” which is a Band on the Run for today’s political climate.
Paul even takes a jaunt through some of his less than successful records best exemplified with “Back in Brazil” and “Nothing for Free” where he again dabbles in electronica. While the former is a meh song, the latter is an excellent electronica rocker to close the album.
However, the best songs are the ones where Paul displays raw vulnerability and intelligence. “I Don’t Know” is an instant classic and shows McCartney at his rawest and most honest. “Happy With You” is a sweet love song to his wife, Nancy Shevell and “People Want Peace” is a brilliantly constructed anthem.
True, age shows a bit more in his voice as it cracks and creaks, but I think it actually adds potent character to his songs, especially to the softer, more powerful numbers. But that unmatchable gift of melody is still untouched and functioning at peak capacity.
Take a ride on Egypt Station. It’s one of the best works from an artist who’s still churning out pleasurable and exciting music after 55 years and shows no signs of slowing down.