11 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Five years in the making, Simon's late-career triumph fuses globetrotting traditions with masterful songwriting. Like most of his best solo work, Stranger to Stranger is a colorful whirlwind of sounds from far-flung corners of the world—a patter of Cajón, a flourish of Southern gospel, and a smear of synthesizers (several tracks were made with Italian electronic outfit Clap! Clap!). But something like “Street Angels”—an echoing tale of a street smart tough guy—allows Simon’s sharp wit and poetic license to shine.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Five years in the making, Simon's late-career triumph fuses globetrotting traditions with masterful songwriting. Like most of his best solo work, Stranger to Stranger is a colorful whirlwind of sounds from far-flung corners of the world—a patter of Cajón, a flourish of Southern gospel, and a smear of synthesizers (several tracks were made with Italian electronic outfit Clap! Clap!). But something like “Street Angels”—an echoing tale of a street smart tough guy—allows Simon’s sharp wit and poetic license to shine.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics. Mastered for iTunes
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Ratings and Reviews

4.3 out of 5
20 Ratings
20 Ratings
JanekSt

Still Relevant After All These Years

The album gets better and better with each listen. I will admit I was disappointed when I first heard Wristband or The Werewolf. Too complicated, no easy melody, lyrics that may seem too literal at first... But I could not have been more wrong. With each listen, the beauty emerges. The melody shines. The apparently "spoken" singing becomes as silky smooth and beautiful as Simon's voice has ever been. As the artist himself said in one of the interviews - people are prepared to not listen. That was my mistake as well. We put on a new album and expect immediate familiarity, we want more of what we know, more of the same. This is not an album you could play in the background until you really LISTEN first. I love it and it made me exceptionally happy that unlike so many of his peers Paul Simon is not stuck in his (incredibly successful) past. Five stars from me and I can't wait to hear it in concert, knowing how much more energy the band always breathes into his songs.

fishcough

Language, Paul!

Have only heard “Wristband” and “Cool Papa Bell” so far, buy I'm a little bugged by the language on the latter. Granted, our most literate American songwriter does give an appropriately intelligent (and humorous) dissection of that "ugly word" here, but it still sounds jarring, and a little gratuitous, coming out of his mouth. I thought the same about '97's "Capeman" album, but that was from a play, so I understood it as character dialogue. Weird how Simon never gets an "Explicit" tag in iTunes when he cusses, too. Why is that?

abbie12115

Language

WARNING Cool Papa Bell has explicit language. the M f bomb is in there. DO NOT BUY if you have small children or are easily offended. Needs Explicit label.

About Paul Simon

There are musical storytellers—and then there’s the low-key but wildly ambitious Paul Simon, who copyrighted his first song with partner Art Garfunkel when they were in their early teens. Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1941, Simon mixed the mass appeal of ’50s rock ’n’ roll with the introspection of the singer/songwriter era, opening up a universe of emotional terrain previously unexplored in popular music. (Just listen to the playful poetry of 1968’s “Mrs. Robinson” or the existential ache of “The Sound of Silence”—songs you could whistle along to, or subject to rigorous literary analysis.) Though he was originally associated with folk, Simon is a remarkably eclectic artist, drawing variously on gospel and jazz, Brazilian batucada, and, perhaps most famously, South African township music. His landmark 1986 album, Graceland, helped build a bridge for his collaborators Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Hugh Masekela, and Miriam Makeba during the height of apartheid. For as uplifting as his music can be (think: the chorus chant of “Cecilia,” the rocksteady of “Mother and Child Reunion,” and the bright horns of “You Can Call Me Al”), at its heart is a profound bittersweetness. Embarking on his farewell tour in 2018, Simon celebrates an inimitable career spent mining themes of aging, separation, and loss with a muted reserve, suggesting that all things—good and bad—do pass.

HOMETOWN
Newark, NJ
GENRE
Pop
BORN
October 13, 1941

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