A tribute to a 76-year old rocker.
This is my first fan letter to you. I am writing out of admiration for your music, your creativity and how you continue to keep writing and performing.
Some weeks ago, I saw your new (for me) music video, Who Cares, a song from your latest album, “Egypt Station”. The opening scene features a woman trudging her way out of the rain into an office building to meet with a therapist. You are the therapist, Emma Stone plays a woman seeking some sanity. Your interaction with her is priceless.
So I listened to Egypt Station shortly after that. 16 songs of you singing, playing, and generally having a good time with a band that plays like they’re happy to be there with you. The whole album is a great listen, and as you have said, it's a theme album. I Don’t Know carries some existential angst. Who Cares is a message for people who have to deal with bullies. Happy With You is a song about personal contentment. Take note that while I was visiting family in Texas when my kids were in the car, they requested “Who Cares” many times. So I played the whole album for them.
The entire album flows nicely and exhibits your flair for experimentation with style and composition. I have heard some say that you are a master of the studio arrangement. I think you must have learned from masters like Sir George Martin, so their assessment is spot on.
I noticed also, that to me, the real gems are at the back end of the album. Yes, I’m an album person. Once I hear a song that I like, I want to know the other songs that surround the one song that I liked. I want to know the song in context, to gather its meaning. Despite Repeated Warnings is epic and sounds like a medley. Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link is a medley and once again, you’ve proven yourself a master of the medley.
Egypt Station brings to mind your other works, notably, Ram On, Venus and Mars, Back To The Egg and McCartney (your first solo album). In Egypt Station, you draw from your roots, with many of the sounds therein echoing your earliest works. I find it amazing that you, a man in your mid-70s, is still writing and performing when you could have quit long ago. Thank you for keeping on it.
I found a video of one of your concerts from the Out There Tour. You were playing at Budokan in Japan and I have to admit, I’ve never seen a band so tight, having so much fun together. Your drummer plays with supreme authority. Your guitarists reveled in their roles. And your keyboardist was right there, the whole time. You had the audience in the palm of your hand. You strutted, you played, you sang, you spoke Japanese. You know what it means to truly love an audience. You never missed a note.
While listening to Egypt Station, I was in awe of how you could still convince so many very talented people to work with you on your album. I recalled how Bono of U2 once worried about staying relevant. The way to stay relevant is to write and to play. You demonstrate your relevance in all of your albums and all of your concerts.
I have watched you perform numerous times on the Tonight Show, seen videos of your concerts and a number of your music videos. Every time I watch you play, I see that you are immersed in your performance, that you love what you are doing, that there is nothing else you’d rather be doing. I see that you have achieved something very difficult for many other people to achieve: self-actualization.
I am a fan, Sir Paul McCartney. I will always be a fan.