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 Station to Station

Blacklight Bar

On his best album in years, Paul McCartney envisions each song a stop at its own unique train station.

Paul McCartney
Egypt Station
Capitol
ROCK

By Leah Greenblatt in Entertainment Weekly

Paul McCartneyf Paul McCartney keeps a bucket list, what could possibly be left on it? A walk on the moon, maybe, or the prototype for eternal life, graciously bestowed by some bleeding-edge biotech lab in Silicon Valley in return for services rendered to mankind.

There are only so many new adventures, after all, for a living legend already guaranteed a forever place on the face of rock's Mount Rushmore; an artist knighted, canonized, and adored in nearly every obscure corner of the globe for more than have a century. And yet, in public and on record, he is somehow still everybody's Paul -- the scrappy kid from Liverpool who appeared on a special hometown edition of "Carpool Karaoke" this past June, contentedly tootling his harmonica in an empty bus shelter, playing a surprise greatest-hits set at a local pub, and making James Corden cry for his grandpa in the middle of a "Let It Be" duet.

'Egypt Station' - Paul McCartney
Released on September 7 via Capitol Records, Egypt Station shares a title with one of McCartney's own paintings and is his first album of all-new music since 2013's chart-topping NEW. It 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). True to the inspiration behind its title, Egypt Station's 14 songs combine to convey a unique travelogue vibe.
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On Egypt Station's loping, contemplative opener, "I Don't Know," McCartney is also a man racked, almost convincingly, with self-doubt: "I got crows at my window, dogs at my door/ I don't think I can take it anymore/ What am I doing wrong? I don't know." But he's too sanguine not to cap it with a reassuring "It's alright, sleep tight," and move right along to the rollicking "Come On to Me," and electrified doot-doo-doo stomper as libidinous as anything a 76-year-old this side of Little Richard has slid into, and "Happy With You," a melodious little ode to the woman who made him want to be a better man. ("I sat around all day, I liked to get stoned/ I liked to get wasted, but these days I don't/ 'cause I'm happy with you.")

In the press notes, McCartney extols the virtues of "the 'album' albums we used to make," and Station has a loose jukebox quality that still feels thematic, even as he moves through moods and sounds. The modern-magpie sensibility of Grammy-winning producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck) gilds the handclap chorus of exalted piano anthem "Fuh You," while jaunty sing-along "People Want Peace" rips a page directly from John Lennon's bed-in playbook. The delicate, pirouetting "Hand in Hand" comes on like a bittersweet "Blackbird" redux; breezy bossa nova shuffle "Back in Brazil" feels like something David Byrne might turn out on a sunny São Paulo weekend. And "Caesar Rock" is all early Hamburg sessions, a giddy shout from the basement of a garage-band jam.

The song list contains 16 tracks total, counting its bookending instrumentals, and it's a long shot, probably, that any of them will join the pantheon. As with any artist of McCartney's age and caliber, the specter of an iconic catalog can't help but hang over the current work, particularly when so few like him remain. For some of his peers, that sense of legacy tended to become the locus of the material, or at least a heavy subtext; on their elegiac late-career albums, Leonard Cohen and David Bowie grappled with mortality and loss in a way that felt in many ways like a deliberate farewell.

But for all its reflection, Station (recorded in part at Abbey Road) feels like the output of a man still experiencing life midstream. And while McCartney has undergone a kind of pop culture resurgence over the past decade -- duetting with Kanye and Rihanna, drumming for the Foo Fighters, dancing in the VIP balcony at Beyoncé's gigs -- he's done it all with a sort of serene elder-statesman dignity. There's no sense on this record that he needs to pander to the kids; no Drake cameo or strenuously pop-charty production.

Instead, the album is content to mine the Technicolor mind of its creator: alternately playful and earnest, melancholy and resilient, but always immutably himself -- the still-vital life force of a superstar who has been there and everywhere and is glad just to be here now. B+ 




 So Long, Bandit

Blacklight Bar

One of the biggest box office stars of the '70s and '80s drives off into the sunset.

By Chris Nashawaty in Entertainment Weekly

Burt Reynoldsurt Reynolds, the macho movie star with a self-depreciating sense of humor and a string of box office hits in the '70s and '80s, followed by an Oscar-nominated comeback in 1997's Boogie Nights, passed away on Sept. 6 in Florida. He was 82. Over the course of his six-decade career, Reynolds lent his easy charisma and smoldering good looks to countless memorable roles. Here are 11 of his most indelible ones.

GUNSMOKE  1962 - 1965

After signing a $125-a-week contract with Universal in 1958 (alongside another up-and-comer named Clint Eastwood), Reynolds got his big break as the part-Native American blacksmith Quint Asper on the long-running CBS Western.

DELIVERANCE  1972

John Boorman's harrowing man-vs.-nature adventure turned Reynolds into an A-list star. The actor is electric as Lewis Medlock, the alpha in a group of male buddies on a canoeing trip that turns into a nightmare.

THE LONGEST YARD  1974  

Once a star tailback at Florida State, Reynolds tapped into his passion for football as Paul Crewe, an incarcerated quarterback who leads a team of cons against a squad of guards on the gridiron.

SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT  1974

This is where Burt Reynolds: Actor/Comedian/Stud becomes Burt Reynolds: Icon. Hal Neeham's redneck caper (which spawned two sequels) was an instant smash, in no small part due to Reynolds' on- and offscreen sparks with costar Sally Field.

TABLOID STAPLE  1970s - 1990s

Reynolds was just as famous (or infamous) for his high-profile romances with Field and Dinah Shore (who was 20 years his senior), his tumultuous, scandal-sheet marriage to Loni Anderson, and his 1972 centerfold in Cosmopolitan, in which the heartthrob wore nothing but a grin on a bearskin rug almost as hairy as his chest.

THE CANNONBALL RUN  1981

Burt ReynoldsIf you were remotely famous in 1981, chances are you were in this cross-country, laughing-gas road rally. But it's Reynolds and loyal sidekick Dom Deluise who steal the show.

SHARKY'S MACHINE  1981

In what may be his mot underrated and grittiest movie ever (he directed it, too), Reynolds plays a Dirty Harry-esque vice cop who descends into Atlanta's underworld to catch a Mob boss.

THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS  1982

Often unfairly criticized for playing only one character, Reynolds silenced naysayers by singing on screen with Dolly Parton in this fizzy adaptation of the hit Broadway musical.

EVENING SHADE  1990 - 1994

When movie parts dried up, Reynolds returned to TV for 98 episodes of Linda Bloodworth-Thomason's CBS sitcom about a retired football pro who becomes a high school coach in his Arkansas hometown.

BOOGIE NIGHTS  1997

Reynolds and director Paul Thomas Anderson didn't jell during the making of this kaleidoscopic, coke-fueled porn-world epic, but the partnership brought out Reynolds' greatest performance, leading to his first and only Oscar nod.

THE LAST MOVIE STAR  2018

Writer-director Adam Rifkin tapped into Reynolds' highs and lows to add unexpected pathos to this valedictory, lion-in-winter drama about an aging actor reckoning with life after fame.  

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