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  You're The One  
  Paul Simon  
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Paul Simon has been around for so long now that every human being on the planet should have some kind of opinion on his music -- either "he did some cool stuff once" to "boring old fart" to "sheer genius" to "his experimentation with non-european rhythms in the late 80's created some interesting music".

Personally, i fall into category three. As a child i spent many many days listening to my mom's old Simon and Garfunkel records. When The Concert In Central Park was on HBO in the early '80's i watched it over and over. I still think that Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard is one of the catchiest tunes ever written.

I also really liked Rhythm Of The Saints, his last outing from wayyy back in 1990. What i liked about that album is that it continued his experimentation with african and carribean rhythms. He was growing as an artist in a different direction. I guess you could call it "world music". Whatever -- it was cool stuff!

But he has been gone for a while. He was (and might still be) married to Edie Brickell. I know he produced and played extensively on her last solo album, which totally failed to make the charts and which i never heard.

And now Paul Simon returns with You're The One. This album is not "world music" so much. In fact, it is very guitar heavy. (And not guitar-heavy in a Metallica sense, but guitar heavy for someone whose last album featured tracks of him singing over a 20-piece african drum troupe!) On this album, the rhythms are still interesting and fresh sounding, but for some reason they are buried under the guitars. The guitarwork in itself is good -- lots of slide and tremolo. Still, the balance seems lacking. It is as if the producers made a conscious choice to make this a "retrun to old form" for Paul Simon the Folkie from the 60's. Why?

I would say that this is not his best work. Many of the songs just sort of meander away in a pointless "adult rock" sense. It is only the last two tracks on the disc that really grab my attention. The last one, Quiet, is a beautiful almost ambient tune of wandering vocals and washed-out sounds. The track before it, Hurricane Eye, features Simon's light vocals backed by guitar and banjo for great effect. These two tracks are really relaxing and beautiful. They challenge the listener to hear with the whole being, to just let yourself go into the music, as truly great Paul Simon songs have always been capable doing.

Only two songs on the new album really touch me. I know that he is capable of so much more.

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