Somewhere — somewhere– in New York Paul McCartney will play a surprise secret gig for lucky fans and maybe some press. I’ll be in Toronto at the Film Festival, but we can all watch the gig on YouTube live and ever after. Remember, I told you when he did his Liverpool gig for James Corden there’d be more of these!
All of this launches his new album, his first in five years, called “Egypt Station.” McCartney is 76. He looks maybe ten years younger and bounces around with alacrity. God bless him. He and Ringo are each vegetarians, they meditate, and so on. We’re not listening, folks!
“Egypt Station” — why even do it? McCartney has nothing to prove. He’s the most successful rock star in history, songwriter, singer, etc. His catalogs are bursting with hits. He could just go around playing them, reconfiguring them, and resting on his laurels.
But then you hear these songs– wistful, gorgeous, “Hand in Hand.” Stately “I Don’t Know.” Rockers like “Come on to Me” and “Fuh You” (a great record, like “Hi Hi Hi”), “Dominoes” (I love this song). There are two big medley opuses, one that’s political and one a rocker. “Who Cares” is a hit single to these ears. “Caesar Rock” is catchy and inventive. But they all are.
The fact is, you want to listen to “Egypt Station.” McCartney says he set out to make a whole album– in an era of singles and ADHD– and he’s done just that, a fully realized piece. The problem, of course, is that classic rock radio won’t play it– they just want to hear “Band on the Run”– and top 40 radio is only interested in generic crap. Oldies radio (WCBS FM) is now mired in mediocre 80s stuff (and it hasn’t aged well). So we must get “Egypt Station” on Sirius or Spotify.
McCartney didn’t play every single instrument on “Egypt Station” but he did execute about 90% of it. Who does this? I hearby nominate “Egypt Station” for Grammy Album of the Year, not just traditional rock or pop. There is no contemporary songwriter or rocker working today who can make something equal to it. Now, I want all the colored vinyl they can produce!