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| 20 December 2018 | Reply

September 2018
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9 /10

Paul McCartney seems in a very happy place at the moment, and it shows in his music. Egypt Station is his second album of original material since he met third wife Nancy Shevell in 2007 (they married in 2011), and both have been absolute pearlers.

We can’t ignore the fact that McCartney is the pre-eminent songwriter of the modern age – nor should we. He has more enduring songs with The Beatles, Wings and his solo work than anyone I can think of, and he’s been recording since 1963. His track record is far from perfect – but pound for pound almost no-one is even in the same ballpark.

So it’s staggering to listen to Egypt Station – just as it was to hear his last album New in 2013 – and realise how many great, catchy songs there are on it. How he makes it seem so effortless is a mystery – though I suspect that being in a happy relationship again must help.

Double A single tracks I Don’t Know and Come On To Me open Egypt Station, both as memorable as each other, with the latter a libidinous and flirtatious nudge nudge wink wink normally unbecoming of a 76-year-old man. Follow-up single Fuh You seals the deal: it seems life with the McCartneys is very good indeed.

Happy With You is a love song, plain and simple. “I used to get stoned” he sings, “but now I don’t, because I’m happy with you.” Over–simplified it may or may not be, but it’s a touching sentiment from one lover to another, and infinitely better than some of his ‘80s silly love songs.

What’s most surprising here is that McCartney feels like rocking. Unsurprisingly since he’s just come off an impressively long and frequent-flyer-accumulating world tour, but surprising because he has pop producer Greg Kurstin at the helm for much of the record, a man more used to directing the likes of Adele, Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears. Ryan Tedder assists on three tracks, including the delightful Fuh You, bringing nothing from his work with Beyonce, Adele or Swifty other than a quirky chorus sample which kinda works.

But rock he does, especially on the garage stomp of Come On To You, a track which will go down a hoot live. Others such as Who Cares bring to mind a Beatles groove, while on Back In Brazil Macca goes full Samba.

At sixteen tracks (let’s disregard the intro and outro and call it fourteen) Egypt Station is a mite too long, and the first six tracks are far and away the best of the bunch, with the latter handful sounding a bit closer to filler. Despite this, it’s an album which finds McCartney and band in rude form, and raging against the laziness and complacency which practically all of his similarly aged peers have fallen to.

Category: CD Reviews

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