Egypt Station

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Egypt Station
Cover of Paul McCartney's 'Egypt Station' album.jpg
Studio album by
Released7 September 2018 (2018-09-07)
RecordedJanuary 2016 — February 2018
Genre
Length57:30
LabelCapitol
Producer
Paul McCartney chronology
Pure McCartney
(2016)
Egypt Station
(2018)
Paul McCartney studio album chronology
New
(2013)
Egypt Station
(2018)
Singles from Egypt Station
  1. "I Don't Know / Come On to Me"
    Released: June 20, 2018
  2. "Fuh You"
    Released: August 15, 2018

Egypt Station is the 17th solo studio album by Paul McCartney. It was released by Capitol Records on September 7, 2018.[1]

Egypt Station was produced by Greg Kurstin and co-produced by McCartney, with the exception of one track produced by Ryan Tedder.[1] The album is McCartney's first studio release since 2013's New. The album's first (double A-side) single, consisting of the two songs "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me", was released on June 20, 2018.[3][4]

The name "Egypt Station" is shared by one of McCartney's paintings from 1988, from which the cover art is derived.[1][5] It became his first No. 1 album in the United States since 1982's Tug of War and his first to debut atop the Billboard 200.

Recording[edit]

Egypt Station was recorded in studios in Los Angeles, London, and Sussex.[1] McCartney began working with producer Greg Kurstin some time after the release of his 2013 album New and mentioned their working together several times leading up to the June 20, 2018 announcement of Egypt Station's release.[6]

McCartney also recorded three songs with Ryan Tedder.[7] Two of the songs, "Fuh You" and "Nothing for Free", were released on the album.

The song "Back in Brazil" was recorded at KLB Studios in the city of São Paulo.[8]

Composition[edit]

Egypt Station contains 16 tracks, including opening and penultimate instrumentals entitled "Opening Station" and "Station II", respectively. Tracks include the singles "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me". "Happy with You" is described as "acoustic meditation on present day contentedness," "People Want Peace," called a "timeless anthem that would fit on virtually any album of any McCartney era," and "an epic multi-movement closer" called "Despite Repeated Warnings."[1]

On the inspiration for the album's title and theme, McCartney said:

"I liked the words 'Egypt Station.' It reminded me of the 'album' albums we used to make... 'Egypt Station' starts off at the station on the first song, and then each song is like a different station. So it gave us some idea to base all the songs around that. I think of it as a dream location that the music emanates from."[1]

In the promotional event "Casual Conversation," McCartney further clarified his creative process behind recording Egypt Station and described it as a concept album.

Promotion[edit]

On 10 June, 2018, all content was removed from McCartney's Instagram page. That day, all of McCartney's social media pages began posting cryptic photos of symbols and McCartney playing various instruments, fueling speculation of an impending announcement.[9] The title Egypt Station was first announced on 18 June 2018, McCartney's 76th birthday. One day later, McCartney officially announced the release of the album's first (double A-side) single, consisting of the two songs "I Don't Know" and "Come On to Me". The two songs were released on June 20, 2018. The same day, McCartney's website officially announced the title and release date of Egypt Station, also providing information on the album's recording and creative process.[1]

After years of rumoured persuasion,[10] McCartney agreed to film a "Carpool Karaoke" segment for The Late Late Show with James Corden in Liverpool on 9 June, 2018. As part of the segment, McCartney performed a small gig at Liverpool's Philharmonic Dining Rooms, where he played "Come On to Me" live for the first time. The segment was broadcast the week of 17 June, 2018 in conjunction with the release of the album's first single.[11] An extended version of the segment, titled "When Corden Met McCartney (Live from Liverpool)", was broadcast by CBS on August 20, 2018.[12]

On 3 July, 2018, the Freshen Up tour was announced through the official McCartney website. The tour started on September 17, 2018 in Quebec City, Canada.

On 19 July 2018, McCartney posted an image on his Instagram asking fans, "Why do you think you should attend a secret event in London with Paul next week"? Fans were asked to "post a short video using the hashtag #UnderTheStaircase". The winners of the contest were treated to a secret concert at Abbey Road Studios with a number of other celebrity guests in attendance. The set list included four songs off of the upcoming album, including "Come On to Me" and the live debuts of "Confidante," "Fuh You," and a song that had been previously unmentioned, called "Who Cares". Later the same week, McCartney played a surprise concert at The Cavern Club in Liverpool.

On 25 July, 2018, McCartney held a talk titled "Casual Conversation" at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA). Moderated by Jarvis Cocker, the event was live-streamed on Facebook, and he answered questions from LIPA students as well as viewers online.[13]

On 15 August, 2018, McCartney released "Fuh You" as the second single from the album. On 3 September 2018, McCartney's YouTube channel released a series of videos titled "Egypt Station – Words Between the Tracks". The videos feature McCartney briefly describing the composition and inspiration of each track from the standard edition album.

On 7 September, 2018, to celebrate the launch of the album, McCartney performed a “secret” concert at Grand Central Station that was live-streamed on YouTube. Music only videos of each performance were later uploaded to his YouTube channel.

During the lead-up promotion to the album's release date, lyric videos were released on YouTube for the first singles "Come On To Me," "I Don't Know," and "Fuh You." Since Egypt Station's release, official music videos were released for "Fuh You," "Back In Brazil," and "Come On To Me." The music videos are a creative departure from many of McCartney's previous music videos in that they each focus on the lives of ordinary people with McCartney only appearing briefly (on stage) in the conclusion of "Back In Brazil."

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic74/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[15]
The Guardian4/5 stars[16]
NME4/5 stars[17]
The Observer4/5 stars[18]
Pitchfork5.8/10[19]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[20]
Slant Magazine2.5/5 stars[21]

Egypt Station has been well-received by music critics. On Metacritic, the album has an overall score of 74 out of 100 compiled from the scores of 25 music critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]

In the review for AllMusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine opined that "all the slower songs are peppered with haunting images of darkness creeping at the edges, while McCartney revives the carnality that marked "Press" – not just on the straight-forward "Fuh You," but "Come on to Me," a considerably better song than the Tedder exercise. Such twists are welcome, but what's satisfying about "Egypt Station" is what's always satisfying about a McCartney record: the hooks and imagination that are so rampant they seem effortless."[15] Dan Stubbs from NME gave the album 4 out of 5 stars, saying, "McCartney’s always been about inclusivity and openness, but this latest glimpse into his life feels like a particularly enlightening one."[17] Reviewing the album for The Observer, Kitty Empire also gave the album 4 out of 5 stars. In the review she states that "the finest songs here land immediately and hum with urgency."[18]

Writing a four star review in Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield claimed, "Make a list of all the songwriters who were composing great tunes in 1958. Now make an overlapping list of the ones who are still writing brilliant songs in 2018. Your list reads: Paul McCartney."[20] Chris Willman at Variety stated, "If it doesn't make for McCartney's most coherent collection, it's endearing how enthusiastically he strives, at 76, to avoid doing just one thing when he can do a dozen. Bitch, he's Macca."[22]

ClassicRockHistory wrote in their review of the album, "This is great songwriting; it’s pop perfection. If we were living in the era in which radio used to play music other than hip hop and rap, these new Paul McCartney songs would become staples of pop culture like so many of the Beatles classics did. However, times have changed and so sadly these great records can get lost."[23]

Commercial performance[edit]

Egypt Station debuted at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 in the issue dated September 22, 2018, earning 153,000 album equivalent units, (of which 147,000 were pure album sales).[24] It is McCartney's first US No. 1 album since Tug of War in 1982, as well as his eighth No. 1 album overall and his first to debut atop the chart.[24] The album dropped to No. 8 in its second week, earning an additional 37,000 album-equivalent units in the United States.[25]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Paul McCartney, except "Fuh You" and "Nothing for Free" by Paul McCartney and Ryan Tedder. All tracks produced by Greg Kurstin with McCartney, except "Fuh You" and "Nothing for Free" by Tedder, Zach Skelton, and McCartney.[26]

Egypt Station — standard version
No.TitleLength
1."Opening Station"0:42
2."I Don't Know"4:27
3."Come On to Me"4:11
4."Happy with You"3:34
5."Who Cares"3:13
6."Fuh You"3:23
7."Confidante"3:04
8."People Want Peace"2:59
9."Hand in Hand"2:35
10."Dominoes"5:02
11."Back in Brazil"3:21
12."Do It Now"3:17
13."Caesar Rock"3:29
14."Despite Repeated Warnings"6:58
15."Station II"0:46
16."Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link"6:22
Total length:57:30
Egypt Station — Target version (bonus tracks)[27]
No.TitleLength
17."Get Started"3:41
18."Nothing for Free"3:15
Total length:64:26

Personnel[edit]

  • Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals (2–14, 16), acoustic guitar (2–5, 7–14, 16), keyboards (2–4, 6–14, 16), bass guitar (2, 4–8, 10–14, 16), percussion (2, 3, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16), drums (2, 8, 10, 12–14, 16), electric guitar (3, 8, 10, 11, 14, 16), harmonica (3), tape loops (10), co-production[28]

with

  • Greg Kurstin – production, engineering, arrangements, keyboards (2, 4, 8, 11, 14), electric guitar (2, 3), mellotron (2), percussion (3, 12), backing vocal (8), marimba (10), sound effects (11), vibraphone (16)
  • Rob Millett – cimbalom (2, 4, 10)
  • Paul "Wix" Wickens – keyboards (3, 5, 13, 14)
  • Abe Laboriel Jr. – drums (3, 5, 11, 13, 14), percussion (4, 12, 16), tack piano (4), backing vocals (5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16)
  • Rusty Anderson – electric guitar (3, 5, 12, 13, 14, 16), backing vocals (5, 12, 13, 14, 16), acoustic guitar (14)
  • Brian Ray – electric guitar (3, 5, 13, 14, 16), bass guitar (3), backing vocals (5, 13, 14, 16), acoustic guitar (14)
  • Tim Loo – cello (3, 16)
  • Greg Phillinganes – piano (3)
  • Pedro Eustache – flute (4, 9, 11), duduk (11)
  • Ryan Tedder – backing vocals (6), programming (6), co-production (6)
  • Zach Skelton – programming (6), co-production (6)
  • Inara George, Alex Pasco, Matt Tuggle, Collin Kadlec – backing vocals (8)
  • Vanessa Freebairn-Smith – cello (8, 9)
  • Jodi Burnett – cello (9)
  • Caroline Le'gene, Roy Bennett – backing vocals (13)
  • Julian Burg – backing vocal (8), engineering
  • Session musicians – orchestration and choir (1–4, 6, 11, 12, 14–16)
  • Mark "Spike" Stentmixing
  • Steve Orchard, Mauricio Cersosimo, Al Schmitt, Billy Bush, Rich Rich, Alex Pasco – engineering

Charts[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Thompson, Rita. "'Paul McCartney Debuts Raunchy Love Song "Fuh You"'". Billboard. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Paul To Release All-New Double A Side Single". PaulMcCartney.com. 19 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Paul McCartney Releases New Singles". Stereogum.
  5. ^ "Egypt Station". McCartney Art.
  6. ^ "McCartney New Album 2018 Tease". bestclassicbands.com.
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  8. ^ ""Back In Brazil" recording (2017 ?)". The-apulmccartney-project.com. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
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  15. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (13 October 2013). "Egypt Station – Paul McCartney". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 September 2018.}}
  16. ^ Empire, Kitty (9 September 2018). "Paul McCartney – 'Egypt Station'". Guardian. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  17. ^ a b Nicolson, Barry (7 September 2018). "Paul McCartney – 'Egypt Station'". NME. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
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  21. ^ "Slant review". Slantmagazine.com.
  22. ^ Willman, Chris (6 September 2018). "Paul McCartney's Gets Saucy, and Slightly Serious, on 'Egypt Station'". Variety. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
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