‘I Don’t Know’ was one of the first two songs to be released from Paul McCartney’s 17th solo album Egypt Station.
I wrote this after going through a difficult period. Like people have, nothing sort of madly serious or anything, but just one of those days when it’s like, ‘Oh my god, what am I doing wrong here, you know?’
And sometimes that’s a good way to write a song, ’cause you’re coming from your soul. And we often used to say that writing a song was like talking to a psychiatrist, a therapist or something, ’cause you’re saying it… you’re saying it in a song rather than a room to a specialist.
Yeah, so it was me just thinking this problem out, and putting it into a song.
‘I Don’t Know’ was released as a double a-side, along with ‘Come On To Me’, on Wednesday 20 June 2018.
That’s a grown-up song. Sometimes in your life, you’re not a god on Olympus. You’re a real person walking round the streets. I’m a grandfather, a father, a husband, and in that package there’s no guarantee that every minute’s gonna go right. In fact, quite the opposite. And there was a private occasion – I’m not gonna get into it – that brought me down. “God, what am I doing wrong?” I’m not knocking it, I have a great life. But from time to time, reality intrudes. This was one of those occasions where it was like, “Oh, fuck me…” The only thing I would do was sit down at the piano. “Got crows at the window! Dogs at ma door!” It all spilled out in that song…
“Ma woman left me!” It wasn’t that, but it was that sort of feeling. I didn’t really know what to do about it, other than write a song. So I wrote the song and then felt I had more of an idea what to do. You write out your demons. It felt good to just say, “I don’t know what to do!” It’s like owning up.
Mojo, October 2018
Here’s the full press release for the single:
PAUL McCARTNEY TO RELEASE ALL-NEW DOUBLE A-SIDE SINGLE
‘I DON’T KNOW’/’COME ON TO ME’
AVAILABLE WEDNESDAY 20th JUNE on CAPITOL RECORDS
Following a whirlwind week that saw his Instagram presence rebooted as he played one of the most intimate gigs of his storied career, Paul McCartney is done keeping the world in suspense: ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Come On To Me’, will be released tomorrow as a double A-Side single.
The first tastes of Paul’s brand new studio album due out later this year on Capitol Records, the two A-sides are polar opposites: ‘I Don’t Know’ being a plaintive, soul-soothing ballad as only Paul can deliver, and ‘Come On To Me’ a raucous stomper that fans that first spark of chemistry into a rocking blaze.
Worldwide speculation about a new Paul McCartney album instantly reached fever pitch as his Instagram account whited out last week—only to ratchet higher as Paul was spotted taking selfies at landmarks in Liverpool the same day. The evening’s climactic event was a surprise gig at the tiny Liverpool Philharmonic Pub, during which ‘Come On To Me’ made its live debut alongside a set of classics spanning Paul’s career.
Paul’s new album is slated for fall 2018 release on Capitol Records. Further details will be announced shortly.
The artwork for ‘I Don’t Know’ contains elements previously seen in a 1988 painting by McCartney, also titled Egypt Station. Here’s McCartney’s description of the piece:
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.