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Paul Simon - So Beautiful or So What

2011-04-19 14:31
For more than four decades, Paul Simon has written songs that transcend generation and genre. Classics like "Mrs Robinson" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" have become part of life's playlist. Aretha Franklin (and Glee) covered the latter; 1990s pop-punk band the Lemonheads found success with the former.

Now 69 years old and an undisputed master of his craft, Simon blends his musical and lyrical gifts with musings on life, love and God on his first new album in five years. The album sounds just like him - bright guitars against a backdrop of world rhythms, reminiscent of "Graceland" or "Rhythm of the Saints" - and the lyrics make it the perfect soundtrack for an existential crisis.

Love is a theme throughout "So Beautiful", and Simon defines it on "Love is Eternal Sacred Light", an electric-guitar romp punctuated by harmonica, congas and cymbals: "Love is eternal sacred light/Free from the shackles of time. Evil is darkness, sight without sight/A demon that feeds on the mind."

Elvis Costello, who wrote the liner notes, says Simon is "a man in full possession of all his gifts looking at the comedy and beauty of life with clarity and the tenderness bought by time."

Simon concludes on the title track that "life is what you make of it/so beautiful or so what."

Bright guitars against a backdrop of world rhythms, reminiscent of "Graceland" or "Rhythm of the Saints"
Read more on:    paul simon  |  review  |  music

Conrad 2011-04-25 10:26 PM
Er... Are you sure you are allowed to call this little snippet a "review"?
galamatias 2011-05-20 11:38 AM
The first thing any listener needs to know is that this a grown up album that requires proper listening and thinking. So if you're looking to dance then you're in the wrong place. Adults with ears will appreciate the way unusual instrumentation and rhythms enliven songs like "Geeting Ready For Christmas Day" (hip hop rhythm and gospel sermon); the kora on "Rewrite" and so on. This is not going to sell millions and be a cultural phenomenon, but it will be listened to and admired when Lady Gag Ga is in a home for senile has-beens. No, let me re-state that ... even longer than 2015 ...

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