Paul Simon sits at or near the top of my list of the greatest musical artists of all time. In fact, I named him as my #1 songwriter on this very blog.
But I must express disappointment with Simon’s last two releases. 2016’s Stranger to Stranger was the most forgettable release of his career. And the just-out In the Blue Light — featuring reimaginings of ten earlier songs — is another let-down.
Welcome to Round Four of Montauk Madness! The Elite Eight! Four contests that, if everything has worked out according to plan, will have you pulling your hair out trying to pick winners.
Our first battle faces off a couple of legendary New Yorkers: Billy Joel and Paul Simon. Joel defeated Michael Penn in Round One, Frank Sinatra in Round Two and Van Morrison in Round Three. Simon took out Elton John, Sting and Lucinda Williams. I voted for both of them every step of the way. Continue reading
Paul Simon’s tenth solo studio album, You’re the One, was released in 2000 to general acclaim, especially coming off the disastrous Broadway run of The Capeman three years earlier.
I haven’t listened to this album much since the early 2000s, but perusing its track list now I’m reminded how good it is. ‘The Teacher’ is a song I’d forgotten about entirely, but it’s quite exotic and lovely. Continue reading
Our next Montauk Madness matchup pairs off a couple of celebrated veteran singer-songwriters, Paul Simon and Lucinda Williams.
Simon dispatched Elton John in Round One and had an even easier time knocking out Sting in Round Two, with 90% of the vote. Williams faced off against a couple of indie acts, topping Garbage in the first round and picking up 71% to defeat The Shins in Round Two. Continue reading
Sting and Paul Simon lived in the same New York apartment building in the 80s, and collaborated on a concert tour in 2014. Now they come together again for a Montauk Madness Round Two death match.
Much to my chagrin, Sting defeated Sinead O’Connor in Round One rather easily, earning 70% of the vote. Paul Simon, surprisingly, had an even easier time dispatching Elton John, with 73%. Continue reading
This is the first real heavyweight battle of Round One of Montauk Madness: Elton John vs. Paul Simon. A couple of musical geniuses in their 70s who have written some of the most memorable songs of the last 50 years.
‘Your Song’ vs. ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.’ ‘Levon’ vs. ‘Still Crazy After All These Years.’ ‘Tiny Dancer’ vs. ‘Graceland.’ (I should note here that this matchup includes only Paul Simon’s solo work… Simon & Garfunkel received their own spot in the tournament).
As I wrote at the beginning of the week, I had a hard time coming up with five 1990 albums for this list. But I had no problem coming up with my #1, Paul Simon’s The Rhythm of the Saints.
Following up the all-time classic Graceland four years later was no easy task, but Simon delivered, creating an album that similarly married world music with his plaintive melodies.