984 - Paul Simon 'Paul Simon' (1972)

My Rating: 3.45 out of 5
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die:
Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums: X
The Mojo Collection: X

Chart Peak (UK/US): 1/4

Favourite Tracks: Everything Put Together Falls Apart, Run That Body Down
Least-Favourite Tracks: Duncan

The album cover photo says it all; here's Paul Simon up close & personal, he peers shyly out from under his hood & there's a warm, glow over everything. Oh and most importantly he standing there on his own with no sign of the curly-haired guy. And that sums it up pretty well, for this is a richly melodic collection of songs that offers an intimate portrait of Simon the solo performer.

I was quite surprised by this album as there's quite a variety of musical styles from reggae to gipsy jazz and yet it all holds together as a complete & unified record. It's almost as if he set out to prove just what he could do once he was freed from the shackles of the 'Simon & Garfunkel' formula. The versatility & songcraft he demonstrates puts a lot of today's trendy singer-songwriters to shame - a song like Everything Put Together Falls Apart manages to be both complex & catchy at the same time and craps all over the bland balladeering of people like James Blunt & Daniel Powter. I also liked the deeply autobiographical nature of the lyrics - he sings about the minutiae of his own life & relationships and that makes the whole thing sound so sincere & heartfelt - especially compared to the contrived so that everyone-can-relate-to-it songs that dominate our airwaves these days.


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