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Exploring the Explorer’s Edition of Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station

Does ‘Egypt Station II’, the ten-track bonus disc, cut the mustard?

Another week and another version of Paul McCartney‘s 2018 album Egypt Station. Hopefully, this new ‘Explorer’s Edition’ will be the last, although you never know with Macca (maybe a ‘Journey’s End’ edition is planned for Christmas?!).

The Explorer’s Edition comes as a two-CD set or a 3LP vinyl package and adds 10 tracks to the standard 16-song version of the album. The bonus disc is called ‘Egypt Station II’ which is slightly dull, but let’s examine what’s contained within.

There are six studio recordings and four live tracks. Of the studio tracks two of them (‘Get Started’ and ‘Nothing For Free’) have already appeared on the ‘deluxe’ edition of the album that was issued back in and one is a ‘full length’ version of album track ‘Who Cares’. ‘Get Enough’ was made available via streaming and YouTube on New Year’s Day, which leaves two songs (‘Frank Sinatra’s Party’ and ‘Sixty Second Street’) that are previously unreleased in any form.

Given that anyone considering buying this Explorer’s Edition for the bonus material will undoubtedly have bought the deluxe last year, it’s rather disappointing that ‘Get Started’ and ‘Nothing For Free’ are repeated. Producer Greg Kurstin told Rolling Stone last year that he recorded “20-something” songs with Paul as part of the Egypt Station sessions which suggests that there’s still a few unissued tracks knocking about. Having said that, it’s amazing what a difference it makes putting these two songs at the beginning of a run and not the end.

The Kurstin-produced ‘Get Started‘ really benefits from being the first track and, under closer inspection, reveals hitherto unappreciated elements. The post-chorus ‘wooh-oohs’ are followed by some wonderful guitar lines reminiscent of Carlos Alomar’s work on McCartney’s 1986 single ‘Press’, while the production standards are very high and consistent with anything on the album. In other words, this doesn’t sound or feel like a ‘B-side’. The song also has a great structure and enjoys something of a McCartney’s specialty, the rocky ad-libbed coda. On this Explorer’s Edition of Egypt Station, ‘Get Started’ is transformed from an album-spoiling appendage to a strong opener, which leaves you wondering, ‘why wasn’t this on the album?’

Nothing For Free‘ was produced by Ryan Tedder and has a more free-form, experimental feel to it. I previously dismissed this track but have to acknowledge that it’s damn catchy and has a certain McCartney II vibe to it. It effectively gets away with being a bit sketchy and not really having much of a verse melody. However, Tedder is simply not as good at producing McCartney’s voice as Kurstin.

Like ‘Get Started’ and most of the album, ‘Frank Sinatra’s Party’ and ‘Sixty Second Street’ are also both produced by Greg Kurstin. The former may well be based on real experience Paul had in the 1960s – it references Sammy Davis Jr, Dino Martin, Angie Dickinson and others – or he could have just made it all up! It starts promisingly before an ill-advised Jack and the Beanstalk referencing lyric: “Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, I’m not the only Englishman…”. Musically, this sounds great, but the semi-nonsense words demote it to the second division.

Sixty Second Street‘ is an appealing acoustic ditty, the sort of thing that appears effortless to Paul McCartney. Again, it’s nicely produced has a few twists and turns along the way. It’s not a classic, but if this was a B-side it would get a lot of love, I think.

‘Who Cares (Full Length) has a two and a half minute long coda of guitar grooves. Nice, but ultimately superfluous, which I guess is why it was edited out in the first place! This has never been my favourite from Egypt Station, but still interesting to hear.

‘Get Enough’ is the third track from the Egypt Station sessions produced by Ryan Tedder (‘Fuh You’ and ‘Nothing For Free’ being the others) and it’s really quite horrible. In an alternate reality – or with another producer – you might have the seed of a plaintive piano-led McCartney ballad, and some lush harmonies at the two minute mark hint at what might have been, but this remains an autotuned mess and evidence of an artist who has no one around him to say “that’s not a good idea”.

Talking of bad ideas, the four live tracks that complete Egypt Station II (‘Come On To Me‘, ‘Fuh You‘, ‘Confidante‘ and ‘Who Cares‘) are rather painful listening. The experience of seeing Paul play live is still one I’d recommend – and being in the crowd at Abbey Road, The Cavern Club or Grand Central Station must have been particularly thrilling – but you really need to be there for the whole experience. There’s a reason Paul hasn’t released a live album for 10 years and sitting at home listening to a rather croaky McCartney run through these songs isn’t much fun, even if they were co-recorded and co-mixed by Giles Martin.

As a McCartney fan, I suppose I’m pleased this edition exists and I still get a kick out of hearing a ‘new’ song, but with the repeated bonus tracks from the original deluxe and the listen-to-them-once live cuts, one has to acknowledge that Egypt Station II represents rather slim pickings. If Paul’s marketing team had had the discipline to not bother with a deluxe edition the first time around it would have been a different story.

Egypt Station Explorer’s Edition is out now on CD and vinyl. The coloured vinyl is due to be officially released on Friday. Some stock available via the SDE shop.

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Paul McCartney ?– Egypt Station (Explorer's Edition)

Egypt Station Explorer's Edition 3LP coloured vinyl

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Paul McCartney

Egypt Station Explorer's Edition 2CD edition

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Egypt Station Explorer's Edition 3LP black vinyl

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Egypt Station Explorer’s Edition 2CD edition

CD 1
1. Opening Station
2. I Don’t Know
3. Come On To Me
4. Happy With You
5. Who Cares
6. Fuh You
7. Confidante
8. People Want Peace
9. Hand In Hand
10. Dominoes
11. Back In Brazil
12. Do It Now
13. Caesar Rock
14. Despite Repeated Warnings
15. Station II
16. Hunt You Down/Naked/C-Link

CD 2
1. Get Started (Previously available on the 18-track deluxe)
2. Nothing For Free (Previously on the 18-track deluxe)
3. Frank Sinatra’s Party*
4. Sixty Second Street*
5. Who Cares (Full length version)*
6. Get Enough (previously digital only)
7. Come On To Me (Live At Abbey Road Studios)*
8. Fuh You (Live At The Cavern Club)*
9. Confidante (Live At LIPA)*
10. Who Cares (Live At Grand Central Station)*

*Previously unreleased

Egypt Station Explorer’s Edition 3LP vinyl

Side 1
1. Opening Station
2. I do not know
3. Come On To Me
4. Happy With You

Side 2
1. Who Cares
2. Fuh You
3. Confidante
4. People Want Peace
5. Hand In Hand

Side 3
1. Dominoes
2. Back In Brazil
3. Do It Now
4. Caesar Rock

Side 4
1. Despite Repeated Warnings
2. Station II
3. Hunt You Down / Naked / C-Link

Side 5
1. Get Started
2. Nothing For Free
3. Frank Sinatra’s Party
4. Sixty Second Street
5. Who Cares

Side 6
1. Get Enough
2. Come On To Me
3. Fuh You
4. Confidante
5. Who Cares

41 responses to Exploring the Explorer’s Edition of Paul McCartney’s Egypt Station

  1. Pingback:Paul McCartney / Flaming Pie reissue | superdeluxeedition

  2. Mike Thorn says:

    Standard Triple LP available in FOPP London for £30 today and 2CD for £14

  3. Paul says:

    I agree with most of this review apart from I adore “Get Enough” and think it’s one of the more interesting McCartney tracks I. The last 2 decades! I absolutely love this vinyl set and have been spinning Egypt Station 2 for the last couple of weeks (bought for around £41 because of amazon France link from this site, thanks Paul). I did have the target bonus CD but sold before this set came out and on repeated listens those 2 tracks are even better than I thought and work better at the start of a album. I agree with Marco that it should have been in the concertina packaging for the vinyl but maybe they couldn’t work on it where the 3rd disc would sit? Overall I’m very happy with this set and it’s made me appreciate Egypt Station even more and I think it’s overtaken Memory Almost Full as my favourite album since Flaming Pie and absolutely smokes “NEW” in my opinion , totally different league. I really hope he does another album with Greg Kurstin!

  4. Marco says:

    I’ve received this set yesterday from Universal digital stor. It is a shame that the album is not ghatefold and the three LP are all enclosed in the same cover. The vinyl deluxe first edition with Concertina sleeve was simply beautiful. 100 euro for this 3 LP is really too much!!

    • Dave says:

      I only bought the CD edition of this release having previously purchased the original deluxe edition. It was expensive for the new material contained. Had I purchased the vinyl I think I would have been livid. Frankly this should have been a single with the two new tracks. The live material should have been a DVD/blu-ray of the relevant performances (preferably complete). The suitcase is ridiculous and the whole raft of variations of Egypt Station wasteful in the extreme. What is happening with Paul? This is an album and a couple of b-sides bloated beyond belief. And I am a fan! I’m not subscribing to all of this nonsense however. The explorer edition should have been issued on day one instead of the version with the two extra tracks – full stop. Not as much income I guess but what we have is an undignified gouging of those who have supported the man over the years.

  5. Frank says:

    This review is spot on! Thanks! (However, I like the croaky McCartney, on record and -obviously- live. It’s still Paul McCartney :) )

  6. Kenneth Tilley says:

    it’s a real shame that nowadays it seems he goes for quantity rather than quality to drum up extra sales.
    to think this is the guy who wrote “for no one” and “she’s leaving home”

  7. Alexander says:

    It seems that release date 31.05.18 for colour vinyl is a fake. Who knows the exact date?

  8. Sir Paul Retire says:

    Why does he keep adding to this 2 star album … I never want to listen to it…

  9. Colin Harper says:

    I smiled when you told us one of the extra tracks is called ‘Who Cares’ :-) It’s as if Paul Macca records an album and then a load of half-baked tracks with teasing names like ‘Who Cares’ or ‘The Joke’s On You’ that he can bung on to deluxe, even-more-deluxe, you-wouldn’t-believe-how-deluxe and HOW-MUCH?!? versions of his thing. Honestly, I’m surprised there isn’t a version of the album with a build-your-own-pyramid kit.

  10. Alexey says:

    Egypt Station II is a very good addition to the album, especially if you didn’t buy it in the very beginning. And since Paul McCartney has done reissues of every album starting from Memory Almost Full is was obvious that you have to wait for the more than just standard version.

    Nothing for Free was one of my favorites from the beginning , for someone it could be Get Started, and the only thing to blame is that they weren’t on the main album before.
    Don’t see the point in dissapointment for their inclusion in the most complete edition (so far).
    I don’t find Get Enough disgusting either, it’s just one of the songs.

    A good thing to fans can be some kind of Egypt Station II separate vinyl RSD release, for those who bought the double LP and participated in making the album #1 in the first place. Something similar happened to the rough version of John Lennon’s Imagine reissue

  11. Justin Bryant says:

    Any news on London Town and Back To The Egg signature editions?

  12. Henry says:

    Note 1: There was not never a deluxe edition of ES. The “extra two tracks” edition was an exclusive edition only for TARGET customers.
    Note 2: “Get Enough” has a simple, beautiful and melancholic lyric. And its music has two incredible and different moments that get together at the end. Also, the dosed experimental use of Auto tune reminds me another similar songs as “Temporary Secretary”, “Goodnight Tonight”, “Mr Bellamy”, etc; and it sounds great!
    I appreciate this “explorer” edition because these “new “good songs deserved to be listened on vinyl or CD.

    • Paul Sinclair says:

      Note 1 is wrong. The same ‘Target’ version was marketed as a deluxe in the UK and other territories.

      • Normand says:

        Yes, and even in Canada, in all Sunrise stores, as a DLX (SUNRISE EXCLUSIVE). I bought one.

      • Henry says:

        In Canada, it was the “Sunrise Records” edition. In UK, it was the “HMV” edition. Like “Target”, they were marketed as “exclusive” editions, not “deluxe”.

        • Paul Sinclair says:

          This is just all semantics. Whether it had ‘deluxe’ on the sticker on not, it was widely available, regarded as a ‘deluxe’ by most fans and MPL are repeating two tracks off it for the Explorer’s Edition.

  13. Wayne Olsen says:

    What’s happened to the three tracks he supposed to have done with k-pop sensations Kim Chi Stardust? And the eleven minute version of Thingumybob he did at this year’s Grammies?
    Great review Paul. And nobody’s more entertaining on stage than Paul McCartney. Who cares about his limited range when everybody’s singing along anyway?

  14. MüllerMüller says:

    Yes – i love this edition – fine songs!
    Ok – now i have the cd album twice! Who cares Full Length is my highlight – because i like this „goodoldfashionextendedstuff“ !
    If you in the 90‘s buy four cd singles from a album with mixes & non album tracks – you complete your collection to the album! Now 2019 – no cd singles – you have to buy the extended album again……….
    Itˋs fun to me – i am lost in music!!!!!!

  15. mick says:

    Jesus don’t get me wrong Macca is great and I’m a fan but the amount of formats around this album is just ridiculous. I reckon there has been 7 versions of the vinyl alone at a guess and then there’s the travellers edition blue vinyl also. Got to say I have the case and its fantastic in itself. I was showing it to people who don’t really buy much vinyl and the could believe the imagination that went into making it. But the effort around this is usually saved for someones discography! Got to think, is this a swansong for Macca musically? No doubt Paul I’ll go for the red version also!!!

  16. Peter says:

    ‘Journey’s End edition’ … Don’t give him any ideas! He’ll probably do that in a special ‘Tax-free’ poly bag …

  17. Graham Robinson says:

    Those of us who’ve been waiting for a definitive edition of Egypt Station are quite happy that the two tracks from the deluxe are here. Sometimes patience is rewarded by only needing to buy one release to get everything worth having…

  18. Mearsi says:

    Sounds liked a balanced review. Having followed Macca around Australia & New Zealand in 2017, and getting to the London show in 2018 I count myself as a fanatic, and seeing him in concert is a true highlight of my year every time. I don’t care about the broken voice, it’s part of who he is now and good on him for just carrying on. It’s not as if it ruins the night. Macca not singing like he used to is no reason to not enjoy the experience. That said, when I relisten to snippets of video on my phone…you’re dead right, there is a reason live recordings aren’t the best bonus. Now that I can get this edition though, the suitcase edition that arrived on Monday is already on eBay. It’s all about the music, not the jigsaw.

  19. Stephen Cornish says:

    Re the live tracks comment. I thought that the live tracks that came with the “New” book release were excellent as was that entire release. Pity the follow up releases of Egypt Station aren’t of the same standard.

  20. Mathew Lauren says:

    Okay, Paul.

    Macca: “Journey’s End” (a hirez 5.1 ED / Christmas 2019)

    I could do that!

    ..along with the Beatles (compilation N/A-release) “Hey Jude” in 5.1, but I won’t hold my breath.

  21. Michael says:

    Very good article, Paul. I’ve been fanatical about the Beatles all my life, and continued to have excitement about Sir Paul McCartney’s solo career. But this exhausting, never ending campaign to promote “Egypt Station” has just confounded me to the point of frustration and inaction. Now, I don’t care to buy any version of this album because in all likelihood a subsequent “world explorer’s edition,” (or some such expanded release) will later be announced, and I’ll immediately experience feelings of buyer’s regret. Time to move on, I say.

  22. wardo says:

    Agreed on most points. The old bastard can still write a tune, but he needs another Nigel Godrich to piss him off. Here’s my updated take:
    https://everybodysdummy.blogspot.com/2018/09/paul-mccartney-35-egypt-station.html?m=0

  23. Bernie says:

    I bought the blue and orange deluxe when it came out and the bonus tracks weren’t on it, so I’m rather pleased to have them now. I think 2 of them are better than some on the original and even “Get Enough” is growing on me: it’s no longer the mess that I, agreeing with you, Paul, thought it was. And the cover is nice alongside the blue original and is already on my wall.
    Is it worth the money? Of course not, but that’s often not the point with what gives you pleasure.
    Thanks for a great site and always giving us something to think about.

  24. DaveM says:

    Right on the money Paul about Get Started, didn’t appreciate it myself fully until ES II. Actually, overall I am pleased with ES II (apart from the pricing) and TBH I was pleasantly surprised by the live tracks. Dare I also say that Get Enough has grown on me. Hearing it in a more fuller setting rather than on the iPad reveals more of Paul’s vocal under the autotune. Still could’ve been a better track without AT as you point out.

  25. Catweazle says:

    Well said Paul, I totally agree! ‘Get Enough’ is truly terrible, the instrumental jam added to ‘Who Cares’ is unnecessary (and poorly edited!), and repeating the two tracks from the deluxe CD is really annoying. (Especially as we here in Germany didn’t even have a choice – so far, I’ve never seen a version of the ES CD without the two bonus cuts over here!)

  26. Andreas says:

    FRANK SINATRA’S PARTY derives from an old McCartney demo from 1976, FISHY MATTERS UNDERWATER.

    • andrew R says:

      Is that related title wise to “for a fish and finger pie?”
      from Penny lane.

    • James W says:

      My “sources” tell me that the demo is actually titled “Reggae Moon”. Apparently, the people who first bootlegged the demos mixed up the titles of those two tracks. Plus, it mentions “Reggae Moon” in the “Traveller’s Edition” credits.

  27. Joe Morgan says:

    Nothing for free sorry can’t help it still not at journeys end. Bit pricey but still buying .

  28. Gisabun says:

    Anyone notice how pricey the CD edition is? Actually even the 3LP looks pricey.
    For the CD, a typical 2CD release is two-thirds to half as cheaper than this release – especially considered that all but [technically] 6 tracks have been released on CD.
    Music Vault in Canada is at $30 CDN last I checked.

  29. Rick from Connecticut says:

    You’ve echoed my sentiments exactly!

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