That came as a big shock. On this very blog, I named Simon the greatest-ever songwriter. I’m one of the few people in the world who really digs Songs from the Capeman. I am programmed to not only cut this guy some slack but to pretty much love everything he does.
Simon’s 13th solo studio release, Stranger to Stranger, comes five years after the late-career triumph So Beautiful Or So What. I was surprised to see that album came out way back in 2011. It still feels vital and fresh, and unfortunately this new release lives in its shadow.
Hard as it is to imagine now, there were serious doubts in the early 70s over Simon’s prospects as a solo artist once Art Garfunkel left the band to pursue his movie career.
One reviewer of this album, quoted on Wikipedia, wrote “”I gather…this album is merely Simon’s way of keeping his hand in while Garfunkel makes movies….I’m now wondering if Garfunkel’s arranging work doesn’t include sending Simon back to rewrite some of his songs before recording them.”
#15 – Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
Continuing my countdown of the best albums of the decade so far, I arrive at Paul Simon’s 2011 comeback record, So Beautiful Or So What.
Simon released only two album in the 00’s: You’re the One in 2000 and Surprise in 2006. The former was half-great and the latter a general disappointment. Before those records, it’s just 1997’s Broadway experiment Songs from the Capeman and the sublime Rhythm of the Saints way back in 1990.
Not very prolific, Mr. Simon.
Today’s Random Weekend selection is the opening track from Paul Simon’s 1983 album Hearts and Bones. This was Simon’s first record in eight years following the release of Still Crazy After All These Years.
Fans who had been waiting with bated breath for new music from Simon must have been scratching their heads when the first song they heard was this bizarre track. Could a lyrical genius like Simon really be singing lines like “Where do allergies go when it’s after a show and they want to get something to eat?”
My desert island countdown continues (see yesterday’s post for the full explanation).
Desert Island Musical Artists – #4 – Paul Simon
Not only do I get Paul Simon’s stellar solo discography (including the unparalleled one-two punch of Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints), I bring with me a quintet of Simon & Garfunkel albums I adore.
The most-read Song of the Day in the history of Meet Me in Montauk is (drum roll, please) Paul Simon’s ‘Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes.’ Top two spots go to Mr. Simon! Must be some meaning behind that.
Even factoring out the Bob Dylan tracks, this post is far and away the winner. It has been viewed 3,690 times, second only to the Hancock post, and more impressive as all of these views have come the old-fashioned way.
In the three and a half years since I posted it, it has never received more than 211 views in a single month. But it’s good for about four page views per day, every single day.