Top critical review
End of the line
25 May 2019
First released back in September 2018, McCartney has decided to reissue it as ‘Egypt Station; Explorer’s Edition’. The front cover is the same as that first release, albeit a different colour (red), but it has a second CD containing ten tracks. But they aren’t previously unreleased, as they were made available on the limited ‘Egypt Station – Travellers Edition’. But what’s it like?
This is a fine sounding album (can us oldies still use that for a CD?) musically. Okay, the musicianship should be exemplary anyway, but this has just the right amount. ‘Come On To Me’ was an obvious single, if such things actually exist now, and the first few notes of ‘Who Cares’ is reminiscent of the start from Harrison’s ‘It’s All Too Much’, but turns into a decent rocker with plenty of guitar. But he has always been melodic with a softer side and ‘Happy With You’, ‘Confidante’ and ‘Hand In Hand’ are just that.
He even goes along a semi samba route with ‘Back In Brazil’ but ‘Caeser Rock’ struggles as something he might have belted out in the early 70s. Yes he can sing better than all of us but I think he fails in his endeavour on this. It has a bit of backward guitar in it. My own opinion of ‘Despite Repeated Warnings’ is it's too political and goes on too long to be anything other than a bit of a mess. The last track, ‘Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link’ starts with a catchy riff and ends with two minutes of vocal less guitar, and you'll know when each part of the three starts.
Why ‘Get Started’ didn’t make the final cut of the first release is only something Sir Paul can answer, as it’s much better than a couple of tracks that were included. It’s rather Beatley, what with it’s descending tune. ‘Nothing For Free’ is a bit of a throwaway whilst ‘Frank Sinatra’s Party’ pays homage to the Rat Rack (minus Joey Bishop) but McCartney sings that he wasn’t the only Englishman there, so who were the others? Some of his ‘brothers were already getting high’, so maybe we know who they were. ‘Sixty Second Street’ is him meeting a date for a minute and telling her what they can do with the time. The fret squeaks actually add to proceedings.
The second outing of ‘Who Cares’ is a full length version that is two minutes longer than that found on the original release. But don’t get too excited, as those extra minutes are just a repeated instrumental with a final falling off bass notes. It’s still a good song. It’s much better than the fairly nondescript piano ballad that is ‘Get Enough’ with his voice surprisingly being auto-tuned, but you can still hear he struggles. The worse thing here. The four live songs are faithful reproductions, but you wouldn’t know they are on-stage performances until the polite applause at the end.
There are a couple of things here I don’t much care for, but the rest is a good mix of ballads and rockers and most have complete endings. Not his best and certainly not his worst, and it is close to 90 minutes of listening. It’s a shame the cracks in his voice are evident on some songs and it does make you wonder how much more he has in him. I don’t want to read reviews of anything he does that say, “This man used to be Paul McCartney”.
Unfortunately, anyone who bought ‘Egypt Station’ first time round will have to double up on that just to get these ten other tracks. As good as this is, it’s expensive for what is, to many, a single album and isn’t very good value. Buy the single CD instead.