So Beautiful Or So What - Concord
FILTER Grade: 92%
By Paul Zollo on April 5, 2011
Years ago, he said he was more interested in what he discovered than what he invented, a radical statement from this most inventive of songwriters. But it’s true: Decades beyond the point at which most of his peers peaked, Paul Simon is still discovering new ways of writing and conveying amazing work and discovering beautifully unexpected and often spiritual language, as well as new rhythms, melodies and instrumental textures. He returns to some of his early musical methods here, touching on all aspects of his storied career, from New York to Dixieland to Africa and beyond. “Dazzling Blue” seamlessly fuses Indian percussion with American bluegrass while the title song and the remarkable “Getting Ready for Christmas Day” are wrapped around loops (the former mirroring the riff from “Mrs. Robinson,” the latter sampling a preacher’s sermon from 1941). It’s a new masterpiece from the Picasso of music—an artist ever evolving, ever expanding and transforming the promise of popular song.