Paul Simon: Still a Work in Progress

Think Christian | 11/14/2018 | Staff
adele2234 (Posted by) Level 3
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New arrangements of Simon's songs reflect our own journey of personal and spiritual growth.

“I need a photo opportunity. I want a shot at redemption. Don’t want to end up a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard.”

Lines - Me - Al - Paul - Simon

These lines from “You Can Call Me Al,” Paul Simon’s 1986 Chevy Chase boogie, might as well speak for the songwriter’s many alter egos.

Consider the weary pilgrim who “walked off to look for America” or “Duncan,” who craves simple human kindness. Listen as Simon bounces into “Graceland,” desperate to end all the “falling, flying or tumbling in turmoil” after his divorce from Carrie Fisher. Characters in Simon’s story-songs either seek a second chance—or try to figure out what to make of the one they just received.

Record - Blue - Light - Substance - Becomes

On his latest record, In the Blue Light, substance becomes structure as Simon takes another pass at slivers of his catalog, deep cuts which deserve second chances of their own. Simon takes his second drafts a step further, giving collaborators such as Wynton Marsalis, Bill Frisell, The National’s Bryce Dessner, and vanguard chamber group yMusic their say about what he got right the first time, the points he missed and who he’s become.

In the Blue Light casts a realistic vision for change, one self-aware Christians will recognize and see themselves in. Knowing we serve a God of second chances, we hold two realities in tension: we have a great deal of growing up to do, individually and corporately, but our end is sure.

Tracks - Variations - Departures - Man - Ceiling

Tracks here range from subtle variations to dynamic departures. “One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor” remains a brassy, no guts-no glory stomp but sounds blurrier, a touch more desperate and discordant.

“Can’t Run But” shifts the heavy lifting from shimmering percussion to strings and winds, sounding as much like Paul Thomas Anderson as Paul Simon. An album highlight, the...
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