Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So Beautiful Or So What

Paul Simon's new album drops today. The video above is the single, coincidentally the best and the most unique "Christmas" song in recent years. Thanks to NPR, I got a chance to listen to the whole thing last week. I gotta confess I'm not really familiar with Simon's work (I've only heard Graceland and Surprise previously), but I must say I was immediately blown away by this new one, in a spiritual kinda way. It's such a groovy record; I like how he fuses different kinds of world music into his songs. For example, there's this great tune called Dazzling Blue that has some intricate guitar work driven by middle-eastern-like percussion. The second last track, Love & Blessings has plenty of musical surprises. And My God is he an incredible lyricist or what! In the song, The Afterlife, he sings about waiting in line and having to fill up a form first before passing through the Pearly Gates. He manages to balance humor well while questioning the meaning of life, a theme which is present throughout the album. There's lotta stuff about God too. I don't say this often, but this is one gorgeously crafted record, and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time, during the season of Lent! Not that I'm a religious person or anything (though I'm Catholic).