PAUL SIMON — Still Crazy After All These Years (review)

PAUL SIMON — Still Crazy After All These Years album cover Album · 1975 · Pop/Art Song/Folk Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Matti P
If anyone, PAUL SIMON is an artist who needs no introduction -- but surprisingly he has no reviews here yet! Billboard chart topper Still Crazy After All These Years was his third solo album after the extremely succesful Simon & Garfunkel partnership (the 1965 debut The Paul Simon Songbook is usually forgotten, partly because most of its songs later became known as S&G songs). Still Crazy also was his most succesful and critically acclaimed solo album until the milestone pop classic Graceland (1986); it won two Grammy Awards, Album Of The Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.

My own relationship with Simon's solo output began with compilations rather than individual albums, so I'm not very good remembering the source albums for individual songs of the 70's, but looking at the track lists, this album is the real winner for me, too. It contains four US Top 40 hits, and apart from the rollicking and Gospel-flavoured 'Gone at Last' which I'm not so fond of, all of them would enter my own Best Of Paul Simon list. The title track about a haphazard meeting of an old lover is truly charming. Dreamily laid-back and yet very passionate, with a sophisticated arrangement featuring Michael Brecker's a brilliant saxophone solo.

The biggest hit (No. 1 in the US) was '50 Ways to Leave Your Lover' where the failed affair melancholy is cleverly contrasted with a catchy chorus of amusing rhymes ("Hop on the bus, Gus", "Drop off the key, Lee", etc.). And No. 9 hit 'My Little Town' was a nostalgic re-union of Simon & Garfunkel.

The rest of the album also has great songwriting. 'I Do It for Your Love' is a peaceful ballad in the vein of the title song, admittedly minor in comparison but too forgotten, for it has some really beautiful melodies in it. The hit-filled first side ends with another forgotten little gem, 'Night Game'. Even Toots Thielemans' harmonica solo is frail enough not to ruin the exceptional nocturnal delicacy.

I'm personally fond of the slow and moody 'Some Folks Lives Roll Easy' and its arrangement featuring romantic strings. 'Have a Good Time' was the album's only song I now had no clear memory of. Well, it is pretty mediocre and forgettable, and I'm not great friends with the sharp horns. 'You're Kind' is a small and ironic song about a brief affair, and my second least fave. The last song 'Silent Eyes' has Gospel-oriented passion almost comparable to 'Bridge Over Troubled Water'. Leon Pendarvis on piano is excellent, and so is Paul Simon himself on vocals backed by a Gospel choir. A bit cheesy perhaps, but beautiful.

This finely produced album is a definitive classic and a must in Paul Simon's impressive body of work, counting also Simon & Garfunkel.
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