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Paul McCartney discovers new destinations on ‘Egypt Station’

Written By Amanda Myers, Co-Arts and Entertainment Editor

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76-year-olds can still exude sex appeal and swagger.

This is made evident on Paul McCartney’s 17th solo album, “Egypt Station,” that has the icon talking dirty, crying out for a revolution and travelling abroad in style, all within the confines of the recording studio.

After the pop shininess of 2013’s “New,” McCartney continues to reinvent his timeless sound in the modern age with a little help from a new friend. Rising star producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia) joins the fold, but he is merely a passenger on the journey that McCartney has created the road map for.

“Egypt Station” begins in a dark, contemplative state as McCartney questions “What’s the matter with me?” on the song “I Don’t Know.”

You can feel the pain in every word McCartney sings, yet sense a building optimistic outlook within the melancholy. The track proves that even a musical legend like McCartney still wrestles with finding himself.

That doesn’t mean his mojo is lost, though.

That aforementioned sex appeal is in full swing on the bouncy “Come On To Me” and double-meaning “Fuh You.” McCartney debates a girl’s intentions when she wants more than “casual conversation” on “Come On To Me.” He responds by upping his charm factor with the use of a roaring horn section and an electric sitar.

One Republic’s Ryan Tedder joins the fun with “Fuh You.” The song has a modern, techno pop sound which has created a rift in the McCartney fandom. Many older fans have lashed out that Paul needs to grow up and stop singing about such frivolous things against this new musical backdrop.

These ageist comments are absurd given how many rock stars are still in the game. Mick Jagger continues to gyrate and jog across the stage like a madman. So why can’t Paul have some silly fun?

Those upbeat and slightly controversial songs are just child’s play when it comes to taking in the rest of the album.

McCartney steps back when the delicate moments arise. He takes his time in singing a love song to his wife Nancy Shevell that he wrote in the early stages of their relationship. “Hand in Hand” has his voice, strained and emotive, longing for future plans with her.

On “Confidante” McCartney longs for the comfort of a forgotten friend and the “long lost anthems” it helped him write. The guitar that once brought him so much joy is now collecting dust in the corner as he aches for the music and times that were.

With a note taken out of Ringo Starr’s “peace and love” playbook, the legend takes an activist turn with “People Want Peace.” He begins the song by echoing the introductions used on “Sgt. Pepper” and breaks down the walls of illusion that we have created for ourselves. If no one is going to stand up for what’s right, at least this Beatle will: “And I’m not quitting while people are crying for more.”

Away from the tension that envelops America, Paul takes a trip abroad on the aptly titled “Back In Brazil.” An electric bossa nova groove and breezy flute make this a patio dance number that will have you out until you see the sunrise.

Another throwback arrives on the seven minute trepidation tale “Despite Repeated Warnings.” Multiple arrangements within the song recall the compositions of his Wings era, especially when the horns in the bridge light off like rockets.

The song tackles the pressing subject of climate change from the position of a sea captain, but some of the lyrics lean towards another person of controversy in power.

“How can we stop him, grab the keys and lock him up.”

After years dealing with the press and politicians of the times, McCartney is still unrelenting in his stance on matters outside of songwriting. If he can make a catchy pop tune that will cause people to take action, then he’s done his job. “Egypt Station” still proves he has a lot left to say.

 

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