By: Timothy Coffman, Columnist
Featured image courtesy of consequenceofsound.net
Paul McCartney is clearly a man who needs no introduction. The man was one of the key figures behind The Beatles and, while everyone may not like them, it’s hard to deny their influence. If you like pop music of any kind, you can thank Sir Paul for inspiring at least half of your favorite artists. However, not everything McCartney has done has been his greatest work; as most musicians of his age are living off nostalgia, how does McCartney’s “Egypt of the Mind” stack up amongst the rest?
On first listen, it is apparent that McCartney has certainly not lost his touch with crafting a compelling melody. The singles “Come On to Me” and “I Don’t Know” are both very beautiful songs with a definite modern sound to them. This is thanks to producer Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Adele and Sia. While his production work hasn’t been all great, Kurstin proves himself to be the most qualified producer to help McCartney become relevant for new generations of listeners. However, the pop music on this release shows only a portion of the album’s power. Songs like “Caesar Rock” and “Who Cares” show that McCartney still has an impeccable rock and roll side to him. There are also songs like “Hand in Hand” and “Happy With You” which show a folksy side reminiscent of his first solo records like “Ram” and “McCartney.” The album also closes spectacularly with two epics “Despite Repeated Warnings” and a medley of songs reminiscent of his work on “Red Rose Speedway.” The former of these two epics also show McCartney as a great pop storyteller, detailing the tale of a near-shipwreck and everyone onboard steering clear of destruction.
All told, this is an extremely solid release from McCartney, but it is difficult when thinking about how to rate. Does this stack up to his Beatles or early solo catalog? Absolutely not. While the songs are catchy, they are not nearly as hooky as McCartney was in his prime. There are also songs like “Fuh You” that falls a touch short when compared to the other great cuts on the record. However, it is unfair to compare this record to McCartney’s vast catalog. While this may not be a classic, there are very few musicians of McCartney’s age who can still write an album that is this consistent. There is something to be said about artists like McCartney and other rock giants of his time, like the late David Bowie, who can put out albums this late in their respective careers and still be good. This album is experimental without letting the song quality drop, which is something only true artists manage to do. While this may not stack up to your copy of “Abbey Road,” I implore you try it out. It may just surprise you.