Carson Hughes, A&E Editor
For his first chart-topping album in over 35 years, Paul McCartney of The Beatles has produced an authentic and playful, yet bordering on melancholy, experience with “Egypt Station.” Despite his status as a music icon, McCartney’s music hasn’t been in the spotlight for decades. Though his last top-ten single was 2015’s “FourFiveSeconds,” the single owes its popularity to McCartney’s collaborators Rihanna and Kanye West.
From the 80s until now, McCartney’s biggest hits have ridden on the coattails of more popular artists at the time, and “Egypt Station” has been undeniably shaped by these experiences. The album has a pretty upbeat tone throughout but oscillating between and even within some of the album’s catchiest tunes are feelings of nostalgia, sadness and envy.
“Egypt Station” opens with “I Don’t Know,” which immediately takes its place as one of the best songs of the album. It’s a ballad which exudes frustration and desperation as McCartney cries, “What am I doing wrong?/I don’t know.” It expertly captures those moments where your problems seem overwhelming, and the answers remain far out of reach. Following “I Don’t Know” is the playful and flirtatious “Come on to Me” in which McCartney with not-so-subtle innuendo says he will come on to you if you come on to him. It’s a catchy hit that’s easy to listen to again and again.
The album has several other standout songs. “Happy with You,” the third song on the album, is a folksy nostalgic song that features McCartney reminiscing about his days with John Lennon. “Happy With You” is followed up by “Who Cares,” a fun retro rock song. “Back in Brazil” features an interesting dancy riff created through the fusion of an electric keyboard, bamboo flute and “Caesar Rock” stands as a great experimental rock song.
Though McCartney is known for writing some of music’s greatest tracks, he is also known for writing some of its biggest clunkers, and unfortunately “Egypt Station” is saddled with some poor songs. The worst offender is the raunchily-titled “Fuh You.” The one word to describe this song is desperate. The song features 76-year-old McCartney with a Coldplay-esque sound belting to an imaginary woman “I just wanna fuh you.” The song reeks of desperation for this imaginary woman’s attention and similarly reeks of desperation for commercial success in its failed attempts to copy off of modern pop-rock. Luckily, the rest of the songs on the album aren’t as offensive to the ears.
Ultimately, I would recommend checking this album out. It doesn’t reach the heights of McCartney’s best work, but it is a thoroughly solid entry into his catalogue.
This article first appeared in the Friday, September 21 edition of The Echo.