Album: Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What (Concord / Universal)
Sunday 12 June 2011
Describing the music Paul Simon makes these days as "pop" is like calling the Bible a bestseller – true but not quite fit for the purpose.
Eleven solo albums in just under 40 years tells its own story: here is a man who would sooner lose his place at popular culture's top table than put out anything under-considered or rash.
So Beautiful or So What is – the unseasonal inclusion of the opening "Getting Ready for Christmas" aside – perfect: as soft as a sigh, as easy as breathing, as wise as it is questioning. The worldy influence remains but never overwhelms and the album contains at least half a dozen songs that are as simple and profound as anything Simon has ever written.
The title track sums things up: The 70-this-year songwriter's message? "Life is what you make of it/ So beautiful or so what". Guess which category this falls into.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Baby rescued 1km out to sea after parents forgot about her
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
The Crystal Maze: Richard O’Brien confirmed to return as more details revealed about show's rebooted format
Guillaume Tell's gang-rape scene caused uproar at the Royal Opera House – but the portrayal of extreme sex and violence on stage is nothing new
Britain's best outdoor cinemas to visit this summer from Somerset House to Luna Cinema
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture