Closing out my Paul Simon Weekends is another song from the excellent So Beautiful Or So What. ‘Love and Blessings’ is the album’s penultimate track and one that crept up on me, going initially unnoticed before emerging as one of my favorites.
I was working in the yard one day, listening to the album on headphones, when a line toward the end of this song struck me: “Maple trees just a little but duller than the memory of the year before.”
I have reached my 18th and final installment of Paul Simon Weekends — four and a half months of what I consider some of the finest songwriting ever committed to tape.
It’s fitting that Simon goes out on a high note, with his latest album, So Beautiful Or So What, receiving some of the best reviews of his career. “Best since Graceland” is the popular refrain for those discussing this album, and I tend to agree, though it’s easier and less controversial to say “best since Rhythm of the Saints.”
When I wrote yesterday that I never revisit Paul Simon’s Surprise, I left out one major exception.
‘Father and Daughter,’ the album’s closing track, first turned up on the soundtrack to The Wild Thornberrys Movie before finding a home on Simon’s own album. I suspect he considered it too good a song to relegate to a soundtrack album from a little-seen kids films.
Paul Simon waited six years between You’re the One and his next studio release, 2006’s Surprise.
But he wasn’t slacking off. In 2003, Simon reunited with Garfunkel for a memorable performance of ‘The Sounds of Silence’ at the Grammys. That appearance led to a reunion tour that spanned two years and included runs in the U.S. and Europe. The duo would go on to perform together several more times over the next seven years.
In yesterday’s post, I described the second half of Paul Simon’s You’re the One as “sleepy” and it’s true that it is more languid and less accessible than the album’s first half.
But sometimes it’s those slow-growers that wind up having the most impact in the long run. Such is the case with a lovely song titled ‘Señorita With a Necklace of Tears.’
Three years after the Capeman debacle, Paul Simon released his first proper studio album in ten years, 2000’s You’re the One. This album is easily overlooked when considering the span of Simon’s career but every time I revisit it, I’m reminded how strong it is.
Frequent commenter Dana hit the nail on the head in describing this album the last time I featured it. He said it is reminiscent of Hearts and Bones but without matching that album’s highest points, and that the first half of the record is extremely good with the second half a bit on the sleepy side.
I’m afraid I was a bit harsh in my description of Paul Simon’s Songs From The Capeman yesterday. While it was certainly a letdown following a seven year wait after his two best albums, and it’s something of a half-baked affair, it isn’t without special moments.
If I hadn’t already posted the wonderfully profane centerpiece track, ‘The Vampires,’ I wouldn’t be able to resist highlighting it on Christmas morning. That song alone is worth the price of the Capeman album.