Zachary Steensma and Garth Van Donselaar—Staff Writers
“Egypt Station” boasts a triumphant return by Paul McCartney, beating Eminem for the coveted number one Billboard spot. The album carries a welcome and familiar pop-rock sound, reminiscent of McCartney’s work with The Beatles and as the leader of the band Wings, but with some fresh experimental elements thrown in the mix.
These experimental elements, such as added synths, sometime give an industrial feel to songs such as “Fuh You” and “Caesar Rock.”
Many of the songs on Egypt Station are driven by the bass, piano and drum core. Keeping true to the classic McCartney sound, most of the instrumentation is relatively simple, but interesting enough to keep a listener hooked for the duration of the album. Throughout the course of the album, synth, brass and string parts are woven into the bridges of songs to add that extra flair.
“Egypt Station” covers a wide range of sounds and styles among all 16 tracks, each track finding its own distinct signature..
The first full track of the album, “I Don’t Know,” sees McCartney at his most somber and reflective. A melodically rich yet melancholy tune, it’s definitely a stand out, both in this album as well as among his other works.
Immediately following, however, is “Come On To Me, which provides an interesting contrast, featuring a straight-forward ‘70s rock feel driven by a bouncy piano and bass hook. The song feels like McCartney is looking back on his past as he remembers a former love interest. The bridge keeps the track fresh and shakes things up with a heavy horn bridge to help it push forward.
“Who Cares” has a similar, old school feeling with a steady, soft blues rock, which is driven more by guitar hooks instead of piano. Such songs allow the album to keep its familiar feel while dipping its toes into other sounds.
But there’s more to the album than nostalgia: perhaps most notable is the track “Fuh You,” which features very modern instrumentation with its light, synth sound and high pop piano. Admittedly, it sounds odd to hear McCartney’s distinct voice overtop such a digitalized, electrical track, but it just helps to show his versatility.
Another more experimental track, “Back in Brazil,” is a fun Latin-jazz tune. Flutes, strings, synths and extra percussion are all brought into the mix to give the track a full and varied sound. The diversity on the track brings new sensations to “Egypt Station” without feeling out of place.
Diversity is not the only strength of the album: the production on the record is tight and professional. The instrumentation is clear and easy to hear, and overall the record has a crisp and glossy sound.
While production consistently maintains focus, some of the songwriting doesn’t: Some songs feel overdrawn and repetitive, and the album seems a bit bloated with 16 tracks and a total runtime of 57:30. Regardless, fans will feel at home with “Egypt Station.”
Paul McCartney adds another entry to his already expansive and acclaimed discography. While “Egypt Station” may not be his greatest work, it feels like an album that accomplishes what it sets out to do: taking the listener on a journey into both old and new territory.
Favorite Tracks: I Don’t Know, Come On To Me, Dominoes, Back in Brazil