At 76 Paul McCartney Remains Full of Energy and A True Inspiration

Macca recently released his 18th solo album Egypt Station and is gearing up for new international tour

Paul McCartney has been pretty busy since June, promoting his new solo album and upcoming Freshen Up Tour. Things peaked with the release of Egypt Station last Friday and a ‘secret’ concert that evening at New York City’s Grand Central Station, which was live-streamed on his YouTube channel.

It all started with the June 10 reboot of Macca’s Instagram page and the subsequent posting of photos over the following days, showing music gear (some with, others without him) and cryptic symbols, clearly suggesting something was up. The title Egypt Station was revealed on Facebook on June 18, Macca’s 76th birthday. The next day saw the official announcement of the first two tracks to be released as a double-A single on June 20. That day, the album’s September 7th release date was unveiled.

On July 3rd, the first dates for the Freshen Up Tour in Canada were announced. Numerous additional dates have since been revealed, including in Europe, Japan and the U.S. The latter concerts start in May 2019. Leading up to the album’s launch, Macca also appeared on Howard Stern and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. Calling all of this an elaborate PR campaign is an understatement!

Paul McCartney on Jimmy Fallon

Egypt Station shares its title with one of Macca’s paintings. In a June 20 announcement, he 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.”

Macca’s productivity and energy is remarkable. Egypt Station is his first full album since New from October 2013. In addition to these two pop records, Macca has released two other very different types of records over the past 10 years: his fifth classical album Ocean’s Kingdom (October 2011) and Electric Arguments (November 2008), his third experimental record with The Fireman, a duo he formed in the early ’90s with English record producer and musician Martin Glover, artistically known as Youth. There is also Macca’s collaboration with Kanye West and Rihanna, which resulted in the single FourFiveSeconds in January 2015. Oh, and in-between all these activities, he has been touring frequently.

Paul McCartney_Egypt Station

I managed to write five paragraphs without saying a bloody word about the new record. So what’s the verdict? While I prefer Macca’s 1973 Wings album Band On The Run and his fourth solo release Tug Of War from 1982 and his voice is showing some signs of aging, I am impressed with Egypt Station – of course, as a huge Beatles fan, this is a completely unbiased statement!😀

One of the things I find remarkable about the record is the variety of material ranging from piano-driven ballads, acoustic guitar-focused songs, some pop rockers to even some ambient music. In addition, two of the tunes clock in well over six minutes. One has distinct parts a la Band On The Run, while the second track is a suite of three songs, a concept reminiscent of Abbey Road. Time for some clips!

Here’s the first track Opening Station, an ambient instrumental. All except two tracks on Egypt Station were written by Macca. “When we decided we were gonna call the album ‘Egypt Station’, I liked the idea of making a montage of sounds that were sort of like a station,” he explains in an audio clip on his website. “So we found one station, then we added another to it – the sound effects of real stations. And then we started to add some noises we made up to make it like a dreamscape, so the idea being this kind of dream location, which where all this music was gonna emanate from.”

Immediately following Opening Station it’s on to signature McCartney with the piano-driven I Don’t Know, one of the tracks that also appeared separately ahead of the album.  It’s about people having a difficult day, wondering what it is they’re doing wrong. Notes Macca: “Sometimes that’s a good way to write a song, ’cause you’re coming from your soul. We often used to say that writing a song was like talking to a psychiatrist or therapist or something, ’cause you’re saying it, but you’re saying it in a song rather than in a room to a specialist.”

Happy With You is one of the album’s acoustic guitar-focused songs. Noting there were days when he had a lot of free time and would lay around doing nothing and getting “a bit stoned,” Macca explains, “It’s a song about growing up. There’s a period in your life, in some people’s lives, when they’re not being as productive or not being as organized or disciplined as they may later turn out to be.”

One of the rock-oriented songs on the album is Who Cares. Macca says he basically wrote the tune to show compassion to younger people all over the world who get picked on by others.

Things get political without naming names on Despite Repeated Warnings, which Macca co-wrote with OneRepublic lead vocalist Ryan Tedder. “I thought I’ll do a kind of song where I use symbolism,” Mecca points out. “And so the person that is symbolic of certain politicians or people who argue climate change is a hoax, and we know a few…So I thought, ‘okay, it’s a sea captain’, and he’s steering the boat, and he’s gonna go towards the iceberg. But he’s been warned, but he’s going, ’cause he thinks he’s right, and he thinks they’re all making to much of it and the usual arguments.” The 6:57-minute song has various distinct parts and, as such, is a bit reminiscent of Band On The Run.

The last track I’d like to call out is a 6:22-minute three-song suite that closes the album: Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link. It starts with a rocker, Hunt You Down, links to another “simple song” called Naked, and finally blends into to C-Link, a bluesy instrumental featuring Macca on electric guitar. About the latter he notes, “it’s just me really enjoying playing electric guitar…people often say, ‘why do you still do it?’ I say, ‘coz I love it, I love this thing.’ And I’m still thrilled with having the privilege of being able to go up to an amp, turn it on, get my guitar, plug it in, and play it very loud. Just, it’s a thrill, you know, and it’s never stopped being a thrill…” This commentary very much feels like it comes from Macca’s heart. You can also feel it when you see him during live performances!

Egypt Station appears on Capitol Records and was mostly produced by Greg Kurstin, who has worked with artists like Beck, Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Foo Fighters. Two tracks, Fuh You and bonus track Nothing For Free, were co-produced by Tedder  and  Zach Skelton.  In addition to OneRepublic, Tedder has written and produced for U2, AdeleBeyoncé, Maroon 5, Taylor Swift and many other “hot” contemporary artists. Fortunately, Egypt Station’s sound isn’t too contemporary!

Paul McCartney Freshen Up Tour Banner

Macca’s  Freshen Up Tour kicks off on September 17 in Québec City, followed by shows in Montréal (September 20), Winnipeg (September 28) and Edmonton (September 30), before leading to Japan in late October and Europe thereafter. Currently announced U.S. dates start in New Orleans on May 23, 2019, and also include Raleigh, N.C. (May 27); Greenville, SC (May 30); and Lexington, Ky. (June 1), among others. This year, Macca is also scheduled to perform at Austin City Limits on October 5 and 12.

It’s safe to assume additional U.S. dates will be announced. I’ve been fortunate to see Paul McCartney live twice. Both shows were fantastic and will always stay in my memory. If his Freshen Up Tour comes within reasonable driving distance from my house, I will likely see him a third time!

Sources: Wikipedia, Paul McCartney website and Facebook page, YouTube

15 thoughts on “At 76 Paul McCartney Remains Full of Energy and A True Inspiration”

  1. Thanks for the review! I’ve started to feel in recent years that the magic of Macca has waned due to, dare I say, overexposure. I appreciate that he does different things to try and remain relevant to a younger crowd, but much of that doesn’t do anything for me. Nor did “New.” But what I’ve heard of Egypt Station has gotten my attention. His appearance on Fallon last week was fantastic. It’s also nice to see him embracing the gray hair…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! There’s no doubt I’m biased here. Paul McCartney will always remain one of my absolute music heroes and inspirations, pretty much regardless of what he does at this stage in his career!

      I’m just thrilled he continues to create new music and conduct tours. I also believe he does it for the right reasons, i.e., his love for music and to perform for his fans.

      At 76 years, he could start releasing compilations or Christmas albums, or frankly do nothing. He no longer needs to prove anything!

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  2. Great review=I will refer to it again as I listen to the album. He seems to be in the news on a daily basis the past few weeks. One thing I’d like to see- and if you are reading this Sir Paul– wouldn’t it be great if he showed up at some small theater in a smallish kind of town and did a concert- unannounced- they could make up some name- appearing tonight- and out comes Sir Paul…. I am liking the album [I’ve listened to it only twice I need to listen to it more and will} Thanks again for the review.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He has been doing these NYC things- I just think it would be fun for him to advertise himself as some fictional artist and play at some small theater- in the middle of America!! Come on Paul I know you are reading this!! Just Do It!!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I was thinking of reviewing this myself but it would probably help if I listened to the fucking thing first. I’ll give it a spin tonight. You cannot fault Macca’s PR – he’s been all over the media on this one. I will say that the only tune I’ve heard – “Fuh You” – sounded pretty lame. Supposedly it’s his naughty way of saying fuck you. But come on, Paul. The rappers have been getting away with way worse. He should stick to “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road.”

    After I saw him on Fallon, I thought it would maybe be cool to take my son to see A BEATLE. But the tour is really weird. He’s in Canada as I write this. Then he plays a festival in Austin, TX. Then he’s not back in the States till May 2019 when he plays New Orleans; Raleigh, NC; Greenville, SC; Lexington, KY; Fort Wayne, IN; Madison, WI; Moline, IL; Phoenix, AZ. And then off to Europe.

    Nothing against any of those cities. But huh? No New York, LA, Boston, Philly? Moline is a couple hours west of Chicago. WTF?

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    1. They seem to be announcing a batch of additional dates every couple of weeks. I’d be shocked if he would leave out the New York area. I’m less sure about the Boston area.

      Did you watch Macca’s concert at Abbey Road Studios on Spotify? It’s there exclusively to video-stream.

      Among others, he does a pretty fierce rendition of “Helter Skelter”. While obviously not as good as the old stuff, his new material sounds better live.

      BTW, I agree with you on “Fuh You” and could do without it. There are definitely better tunes on the new album.

      Watching Macca live on Spotify is fun. His backing band isn’t shabby either!

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      1. I can’t say that Sir Paul has any particular fondness for Boston per se but we saw him at Fenway and bands seem to dig playing there. We’ll see. If he comes I may have to ask you for a loan from your endless supply of concert money. At “fellow blogger” interest rates, of course.

        I didn’t now about the Spotify thing. I’ll check it out as well as the Grand Central thing.

        Can you imagine if Paul and Ringo toured together?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. We should start an online petition for Macca to take the show to Boston. Perhaps we could also convince him to play the Wong Theatre, the great place where I saw Neil Young back in July.

        And, yeah, Paul could bring along Ringo as well. That would be mighty cool. For that, I’d take a mini-vacation and come up there!😜

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      3. Ha, sounds like a plan. I know you’ve been practicing your electric guitar, so I’m confident you could take over for one of his guitarist. As for me, I’d buy a frigging bass and quit my job, so I’d be ready!😜🎸

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      4. Work on your fucking backing vocals, pal. I’m going to see if I can simulate the orchestra from “Day in the LIfe” on my guitar. Shock the shit out of Macca. Then I’ll do a mic drop Music Enthusiast – over and out.

        Liked by 1 person

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