1) Opening Station 2) I Don't Know 3) Come On To Me 4) Happy With You 5) Who Cares 6) Fuh You 7) Confidante 8) People Want Peace 9) Hand In Hand 10) Dominoes 11) Back In Brazil 12) Do It Now 13) Caesar Rock 14) Depite Repeated Warnings 15) Station II 16) Hunt You Down / Naked / C-Link
Bonus tracks: 17) Get Started, 18) Nothing For Free (Exclusive to HMV (UK), Target Records (US)
Paul McCartney's first studio album in five years 'Egypt Station', finally arrived on 7th September promoted with a 'secret gig' at Grand Central Station in New York to the delight of 300 fans including wife Nancy, Meryl Streep, Jon Bon Jovi and others.
The album had been preceded by an amazing promotional push by EMI & Capitol beginning with James Corden's Carpool programme recorded in Liverpool on the 9th June, culminating with a gig in the Philharmonic Pub and the World premiere of 'Come Back to Me'.
The release of the download only singles Come Back to Me, I Don't Know were followed in July by 'secret' gigs at Abbey Road & the Cavern Club then the release of the controversial third song from the album 'Fuh You'..
Can an album live up to that much hype?
As we're both Beatles fans, myself and my 'Beatle Girl' decided to hold a listening party. Why not, any new McCartney album is an event.
So 'here we sat two lonely old people' as the train left the station, spurred on by reading the numerous 4 stars reviews in the press.
After Opening Station the first of two short interludes on this 'concept' album the familiar piano intro of I Don't Know seems a strange choice for the opening song, I mean you always start your album with a rocker, don't you? Not Paul. It has a wonderful extended piano intro that sets the tone for this soon to be classic McCartney 'ballad'. Full of self doubt 'I've got crows at my window, dogs at my door, I don't think I can take anymore' he bears is feelings for all to see, he's human after all but then again as McCartney says, it's only a song.
First rocker on the album is Come on to Me and the first song featuring his band. What a belter it is, as Paul reflects on attending 60's parties when the girls wanted more than casual conversation.
On Happy With You he's talking about how he used to get stoned & wasted but these days he doesn't because he's happy with Nancy. It's one of those acoustic ditties that he seems to be able to produce with ease. Think, Early Days (New), Jenny Wren (Chaos & Creation) & Put It There (Flowers in the Dirt).
Who Cares is a mid tempo rocker dealing with bullying. "Who cares what the idiots say, who cares what they do, who cares about the pain in your heart, I do". Featuring a guitar part nicked from 'Only Mama Knows'.
Paul has had a bit of stick for Fuh You for trying to sound relevant in 2018, some inferring that part of the song sounds like One Direction. Well, I for one love Fuh You and it won me a pint at Beatleweek so I'll take that! (See what I've done there).
The story of Paul and his guitar, his under the staircase friend is told in Confidante another excellent acoustic number.
Why does any song with peace in the title initially bring a reaction 'oh no, not peace again? After all we all want peace, don't we? Perhaps it's Ringo Starr's fault for being too 'peace and love', or John Lennon's for giving peace a chance? Sorry, but I don't like People Want Peace because at the end of the day it just isn't that great a song.
Now, Hand in Hand is a different story, an out and out McCartney classic. The piano based track is a beauty as Paul's frail vocals compliment the cello and pan pipe backing and even the solo. "Hand in hand, walking through life, and making our plans, hand in hand"
As with a number of songs on Egypt Station, Dominoes wouldn't sound out of place on any Wings album such is the quality of this mid tempo song. Paul's vocals are excellent and the backwards guitar is wicked.
The idea of treating every song as a different station has brought a number of different music styles to the album. On Back in Brazil he borrows the sound of Brazilian rhythmsand while inoffensive it's also unremarkable to these ears, although 'Beatle Girl' was up dancing!
Paul's dad was the inspiration behind Do It Now another McCartney piano based classic. "I'll do that later". Paul would say to his father, "do it now" his dad would reply.
Paul described Caesar Rock as a bit of fun in the studio, doesn't he realise it an excellent rocker. Me and Beatle Girl were both up dancing to this one. More fun songs please Paul.
Egypt Station just gets better and better. Depite Repeated Warnings is the master at the top of his game. Made up of different musical passages, aka, Band on the Run, it works on all levels and the message comes across loud and clear.
A clever Station 11 apparently depicting a busker playing the intro to the next epic song on this epic album. The three part epic Hunt You Down / Naked / C-Link works on every level, Paul's vocals. tick, song, a big tick and his bluesy guitar on C-Link is brilliant. Paul says there's an 11 minute take of C-Link in the vaults, he's probably saving it for the deluxe version.
I don't know what the deal is here but if you bought your copy of Egypt Station at HMV (UK) or Target Records (US) the album contained two bonus tracks. Get Started contains some lovely early Beatles guitar and a rocking outro that could be lifted off the White Album.
Although Greg Kurstin produced the majority of the album, Ryan Tedder produced two tracks on Egypt Station, Fuh You and the closing bonus track Nothing For Free, a mid tempo rocker with another great vocal from Paul to close the album.
Does Egypt Station live up to the hype? Well yes, and beyond.
Paul has been in a rich vein of form musically since the release of Flaming Pie in 1997. He followed that with Driving Rain (2001), Chaos & Creation (2005), Memory Almost Full (2007), Kisses on the Bottom (2012) and New (2013) but with the 18 track epic Egypt Station he excels himself even by his own very high standards.
Cheers Paul you made two lonely old people very happy lonely old people indeed!