Album of the Week:
Paul McCartney, Egypt Station
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Paul’s 17th solo studio album is also his first in 5 years. Egypt Station, mostly produced by Greg Kurstin, is perhaps the most enjoyable collection of songs McCartney has made in recent decades. And that's saying a lot, since his recent couple of albums have been fun affairs in their own right.
The album's title derives from a painting Paul himself made in 1988, and the album art was based on his painting.
Paul thinks of this release as sort of a concept album. The album begins with “Opening Station,” a brief montage of train station hubbub sound effects and a short, mood setting keyboard and a choir. Each subsequent song is supposed to represent another station along your "ride" as a listener. Although Paul considers it a concept, it’s only one in the same way that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was: a bunch of largely unconnected songs with a sort of framing device around the album.
Paul’s voice isn’t what it used to be, for sure, but this is still an enjoyable collection of late-career songs.
Some of the standout tracks on Egypt Station include “Come On to Me” (simply a great pop rock song), “People Want Peace” (an anthemic singalong, with backing vocals by producer Kurstin’s partner in the group The Bird and The Bee, Inara George), “Back to Brazil” (a Latin-flavored number), and a classic McCartney song pastiche called “Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link.” This latter song begins as a driving rocker, segues into a loping waltz, and then concludes with a tasty, 2-and-a-half-minute guitar solo played by Sir Paul himself.