Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Don’t be surprised if you have an “I’ll have what he’s having” reaction upon listening to Egypt Station. Not only does McCartney’s busy touring schedule prove his indefatigability, but also, starting with 2005’s Chaos And Creation In The Backyard and encompassing this record, Macca has assembled a four-album stretch of new material that is the equal of any other similar span in his post-Beatles career.
On Egypt Station, McCartney is not a guy matching his autumn years with an autumnal record. He bashes about on this album as if he wants back in the game. Any hint of Beatles-y or Wings-y musical retrospection that might flash every now and then is quickly overtaken by sounds that are right at home on modern radio; heck, you could imagine Adam Levine belting out “Fuh You” as the new Maroon 5 single.
His subject matter is refreshingly youthful as well, from the randy behavior of “Come On To Me” to the seize-the-day message of the ELO-ish “Do It Now.” There are occasional touches of bluesy introspection, such as the lovely “I Don’t Know,” with its album-opening lines “I got crows at my window, dogs at my door/ I don’t think I can take anymore.” In addition, his pessimistic views of the world’s current leadership are made abundantly clear on the song suite “Despite Repeated Warnings.”
But, for the most part, this is an album that constantly projects joy and musical adventurousness, qualities which have signified this career for more than a half-century. The closing barrage of “Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link” is vibrant and unexpected, encompassing everything from AC/DC to Fats Domino. Meanwhile, “Happy With You” is McCartney at his open-hearted best, just acoustic guitar, woodwinds, percussion thump and a sky-clearing melody, reminding us all over again that the correlation between love taken and love made is unaffected by the passing time.