BACK TO HIs BEsT; TO BACK BEsT HIs CD OF THE WEEK.
Like many of the major figures who achieved prominence in the distant past, Paul Simon has often struggled to make meaningful connections in recent albums. The rich span of influences that inspired his work with Simon & Garfunkel and such landmark 70s solo releases as the brilliant, hit single-studded There Goes Rhymin' Simon (reissued this week in a deluxe extended version), reached a cultural and artistic peak on 1986's African-enriched Graceland.
That album has cast a shadow over everything Simon has done since, but following on from 2006's haphazard Surprise, So Beautiful Or So What is Simon's most artistically successful, fully-rounded album in more than 20 years.
A close-knit band - capable of spanning the globe for the sparkling array of riffs and melodies that inform Simon's prayerful visions - provides a strong anchor. With a calm acceptance of his standing, Simon's curiosity for and determination to engage with life's knottier philosophical issues reaps dividends. Hardly surprising that, on the cusp of his 70th birthday, Paul has notions of God and mortality in mind.
These are projected through the mindset of characters such as the Iraq vet in Getting Ready For Christmas Day and the Vietnam vet in Rewrite.
Dazzling Blue's melding of gentle African rhythm and close harmony paints a picture of love blessed by natural beauty, and Simon's domestic contentment with wife Edie Brickell makes its mark here and elsewhere.
But he's still attuned to wider, contemporary events. In Love Is Eternal Sacred Light, the jolting image of a "bomb in the market place" provides a counterpoint to the transcendent title.
On this album, Simon is playfully at peace with his past. The sophisticated adult pop that results should inspire and enrich receptive younger listeners too.
SOPHISTICATED ADULT POP: Paul Simon
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||The Mirror (London, England)|
|Date:||Jun 10, 2011|
|Previous Article:||SCHUE'S THAT BOY? GLEE HEARTTHROB MATTHEW MORRISON IS BRANCHING OUT BY RELEASING HIS DEBUT ALBUM. By SARA WALLIS.|
|Next Article:||The leader of the Wolf pack; INTERVIEW.|