Egypt Station was announced formally on 20 June 2018. Here’s the full press release:
NEW STUDIO ALBUM OUT 7th SEPTEMBER 2018 on CAPITOL RECORDS
PRE-ORDERS LIVE NOW, INCLUDING DOUBLE A-SIDE SINGLE ‘I DON’T KNOW’ / ‘COME ON TO ME’
Paul invites you on a musical journey to Egypt Station, estimated time of arrival Friday 7th September 7, 2018 by way of Capitol Records.
Sharing a title with one of Paul’s own paintings, Egypt Station is the first full album of all-new McCartney music since 2013’s international chart-topping NEW. Preceded by two of its tracks just released as double A-sides – plaintive ballad ‘I Don’t Know’ and raucous stomper ‘Come On To Me’ – Egypt Station was recorded between Los Angeles, London and Sussex, and produced (with the exception of one Ryan Tedder track) by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, Foo Fighters).
Of the forthcoming album’s enigmatic title, Paul says, “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.”
True to the inspiration behind its title, Egypt Station’s 14 songs combine to convey a unique travelogue vibe. Between the opening and closing instrumentals ‘Station I’ and ‘Station II’, each song finds Paul capturing a place or moment before transporting the listener seamlessly to the next destination. Stops along the way include an acoustic meditation on present day contentedness (‘Happy With You’), a timeless anthem that would fit on virtually any album of any McCartney era (‘People Want Peace’), and an epic multi-movement closer clocking in at seven minutes with a song suite structure harkening back to the days of Paul’s previous combos (‘Despite Repeated Warnings’). The result is a kaleidoscopic journey through myriad musical locales and eras, yet firmly rooted in the here and now – with Paul’s singular unmistakeable melodic and lyrical sensibility serving as a guide.
Confirmation of Egypt Station’s release puts an end to speculation about a new Paul McCartney album that began with the whiting out of his Instagram account as Paul turned up at various landmarks in Liverpool. The capper was a 9th June surprise gig at Liverpool’s tiny Philharmonic Pub, during which ‘Come On To Me’ was debuted alongside a set of classics spanning Paul’s career. Further details to come…
McCartney played a special concert to an invited audience at Abbey Road Studios on 23 July 2018. The 25-song setlist included the Egypt Station songs Come On To Me, Confidante, Who Cares, Fuh You. Three days later he played the same songs during his set at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Fuh You was released as the second single from Egypt Station on 15 August.
The songs on the album were partly inspired by 2017’s 50th anniversary reissue of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
I remember going up to the studio a couple of times and saying, oh well I was listening to this programme last night and I thought on ‘Penny Lane’ it was just one piano that I played but it turns out it’s eight! We were goofing around on that, and it inspires you and makes you think you can go anywhere. It’s still gonna sound like a piano, but sonically you can play with it. Pepper was a big influence.
Title and cover artwork
Egypt Station was originally a piece of art by Paul McCartney. Two hundred lithographs went on sale in 1988.
Paper size: 25 ½” x 33 ½”
Image size: 15 ½” x 19 ½”
Here’s McCartney’s description of the artwork, from the McCartney Art website:
My original inspiration was similar to a picture we were talking about the other day, with Egyptian symbols and shapes I got from looking at a reference book on Egypt. I was interested in the way they drew sunflowers, so two appear on the left and on the right. It was a nice shape, so I took that and then I also love the way they symbolize trees. I like the way they reduce a tree to just some very simple symbols.
Elements of the original Egypt Station artwork can be seen in the cover art for the I Don’t Know single.