Sir Paul seems to garner increasing popularity (once again) over recent years – A genuine acclaim for what he’s doing today, without any tongue-in-cheek irony. And deservedly so. Carrying himself with a sense of decorum, (but never too serious), he realizes how his contributions to/from the sixties and seventies continue to resonate. He leans heavily on these venerable tunes, because after all, that’s what the audience really wants. Yet, he isn’t compelled to stay strictly within this safety net, and apparently still has a lot to say, particularly with his diverse Egypt Station.
The two opening (musical) tracks also serve as his latest double A-sided single. The lyrics to “I Don’t Know” are bit darker than I would anticipate from a McCartney song (“Where am I going wrong? / I don’t know). OK, the intro is a bit too somber, and the middle eight a bit to peppy, but they’re the exception rather than the rule here. Shifting gears, “Come On To Me” is a fun rocker – This one had me stomping my foot beneath my desk. Reminiscent of a few things he tried to pull-off during McCartney II, but wasn’t quite successful at, I think he’s pulled this one off at last.
“Happy With You” is definitely one of the stronger songs on the album. A lyrical call-and-response, where the narrator recalls his darker days (“I walked around angry / I used to feel bad”) as opposed to his happier days in the present (“But nowaday my days / Don’t have to be sad / Because, I’m happy with you”). Not a sappy song at all, yet an overly prevailing positive moment here, this is the tune that can hold it’s own as part of McCartney’s mighty pantheon.
Admittedly some filler in this collection (“Who Cares” and “Fuh You”), some over-sentimentality (“People Love Peace”) and “Back in Brazil” just plain confuses me. But the majority of the remaining tunes stand strong. “Confidante”, besides having one of the best acoustic guitar tones I’ve heard on a recording lately, is carried by a simple, driving vocal melody. Age has barely crept into McCartney’s voice. The piano ballad “Hand in Hand” weaves simple vocal lines between clever melodies; minor harmonies between major. The song is primarily melancholical, with lyrics that could easily have suggested another harmonic direction (which would have been a misstep).
The medley of “Hunt You Down / Naked / C-Link” is almost an interesting bookend to the opening tracks of Wings Over America “Venus and Mars / Rock Show / Jet”. This time starting with the rocker, with the energy and tempo working their way down to a light landing.
Admittedly, Egypt Station probably would not garner the attention its getting if it wasn’t a McCartney release. But this album certainly does merit a good deal of the accolades on its own accord. It’s no McCartney (Paul’s first solo album), but then again, none of Paul’s (or Wings’) subsequent albums was / will be.
Come On To Me
Happy With You