Younger than before
The first question Paul Simon asked himself when he was planning a new cd, was a crucial one: did he, forty years after The Sound of Silence and twenty years after Graceland, still have something to say? And should this question even bother him, at an age where most people are about to retire?
Simon found the answer in a man with whom no one would ever associate him. Brian Eno, an avant-garde musician and producer of both U2 and David Bowie, turned out to be a kindred spirit. The first cd since You´re the one is a cd that reconciles Simon´s mastery as a songwriter with Eno´s adventurous spirit.
Opener How can you live in the Northeast demonstrates immediately that the cd title isn´t a false promise. The song is enveloped in electrical guitars, has been adorned with keyboards and hightech, and even his voice sounds more raw than usually. The atmospheric Everything about it is a lovesong combines acoustical guitars with a nervous drumcomputer, and Outrageous merges the different influences that Simon has incorporated in his work all through his career: jazzy bass, African guitar, an aggressive beat and sarcastic lyrics about a middle-aged man who performs 900 sit-ups every day.
That´s me floats on a whimsical Bill Frisell-guitar, a nervous ticking drummachine and electronic bleeps that make you guess that Simon has been listening to Massive Attack. Brian Eno sends Paul Simon, a sixties child, through the gates of the twenty-first century, and in that new era Simon feels younger than before. A comeback to frame.
Source: De Morgen, May 3, 2006, written in Dutch by Bart Steenhaut.
About the release of ´Surprise´¯