Paul Simon

Paul Simon - 1972

Sharing many of the same qualities as Paul McCartney's first couple of post-Beatles LPs, especially those of the particularly brilliant Ram, Paul Simon's 1972 solo record maintains its homemade subtlety and deceptive simplicity 38 years and a million plus shifted units later. He dips a toe into reggae and afro pop 14 years before he'd dive head-first into it on Graceland, and even pulls in a couple of Miles' boys (Airto Moreira and Ron Carter) on a number of tracks, but the album never feels like a genre exercise thanks to a songwriter at the peak of his career paired with production that makes the whole affair sound effortless, intimate and perfectly flawed. I've steered clear of Simon, Garfunkel and Simon and Garfunkel, territory my entire life. Who knows why I decided to change course this late in the game is beyond me, though I'm glad I did. This album features a couple of huge hits in "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" and "Mother and Child Reunion", though it's even better hearing them in context. It all fits.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

JR, glad to see you delving into Mr. Simon's work. To me his self-titled album is like McCartney's first solo album in a way: McCartney knew he couldn't match the widescreen glory of the Abbey Road album and Simon knew he couldn't top the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, and it's as if they both made a conscious choise to go in the opposite direction - stripped-down, low-key, etc.