In The Blue Light

Paul Simon

Legacy, 2018

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler


Unless you’ve been living under a rock or refuse to listen to any musician other than Cardi B, you should be well aware that Paul Simon is a living legend. I have to admit that I was not the biggest fan; I had mostly ignored everything but the hits. But after listening to the audiobook of his recent biography, I started to change my tune.

While he embarks on what he is referring to as his farewell tour, Simon has returned with an album containing reworkings of some of his favorite songs. None of these were hits and he feels that many of them are worth another look. Many tracks come from 2000’s my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 You’re The One, but he is able to revitalize some of these songs and turn them into wonderful works.

Nineteen eighty-three’s “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor” is a downtempo jazzy number that works with Simon’s vocals. I have to admit I was quite surprised by this track and its ruminations on life. “Love” is just stunning. A beautiful, simple, elegant song that one can’t help but enjoy. It even comes across as an improvement over the less elegant version that first came out in 2000. This version is undoubtedly one of the best songs I’ve heard all year.

The jazz influence is very strong on “How The Heart Approaches What It Yearns”; this is definitely the type of record you can listen to a rainy Sunday afternoon while cleaning or lounging around the house. The whole record has that sort of feeling to it. “Can’t Run But” feels like a piece of a movie score and if you’re into that sort of thing, then it’ll all work, but otherwise, avoid it.

“Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War,” is quite different but still effective. “Darling Lorraine,” always one of Simon’s favorites, comes alive. A very welcoming song, at seven minutes it’s the longest track here, but it’s clear to see with all the effort put into it that its still one of Simon’s go-tos, and it still works really well. The album’s closing track “Questions For The Angels” is a soft, lush acoustic ballad that works really well. Simon’s weathered vocal really helps bring the song to life and gives it a yearning that’s impossible not to feel.

This is a mixed bag of music for those who are not diehard Simon fans, but even if you’re not, there’s something here that’s bound to attract almost any sort of listener.

Rating: B

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