Album: In The Blue Light
Artist: Paul Simon
Non-Airable Tracks: None
The year is 2018. Paul Simon is some how still alive and still releasing music. But this isn’t new music. In the Blue Light is a collection of re-recordings of deep cuts from earlier in Simon’s career. Including selections from There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, Hearts and Bones, and You’re the One (actually 4 different tracks from You’re the One, something tells me Simon has a gripe with that album), Simon takes his time to revisit tracks and work through them in varied and new ways. The question remains, however: does Simon add enough novelty to these tracks to make this an interesting foray into one of the 20th century’s greatest songwriters overlooked tracks? Or is this just a masturbatory episode of navel gazing from a has-been, far past his prime?
I really hate to be the one to tell you this guys but I’m afraid it’s the second. These just aren’t that interesting. Clever lyrics and funny imagery will only carry you so far without any really interesting song changes to each of these. To make sure this review wasn’t totally me just riffing off of how boring most of this album is, I went and listened to each of the originals and surprise! There’s just not enough added! This is not to say the music on this album is bad. It’s just not worth your time. As far as the actual music goes it’s pretty much what you’d expect from an aging member of a 60’s folk group. Upbeat orchestral pop with just a dash of social commentary on urbanite living and racial tensions delivered from a white man in his late 70s no this is totally fine not preachy at all. It’s not bad.
Standouts on this album for me are “René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War” and “Can’t Run But”. “René and Georgette” is a sweet ballad sung about the surrealist painter and his wife on a day out into the town. It’s soft and nice and happy to listen to. “Can’t Run But” is an upbeat jaunt about the Chernobyl incident I think? There’s a dash of paranoia about the appearance of oneself to others but I think I’m only analyzing it so much because it’s one of the only songs to hold my attention for more than 5 minutes. The only standout that stands out because I hate is the marching “Pigs, Sheep and Wolves”. I can’t stand it. His voice is grating and the clarinets in the background drive me crazy. Anyways give it a listen if you really love Paul Simon or Simon and Garfunkel and you won’t take no for an answer because I wouldn’t really recommend under any other circumstances.
Sounds Like: Simon and Garfunkel, Art Garfunkel
“René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War”
“Can’t Run But”
Reviewer’s Name: Bennett Tolar
Date of Review: 10/31/18