Paul Simon, Hearts And Bones (1983)
I’ve been listening to this album since it was released – my folks’ vinyl copy (which I now own). They were (and are) big Paul Simon fans. And I thank them for that, for getting to grow up with the fabulous music he made across the 1970s and 1980s. I listen to Hearts And Bones and am baffled that it was met with little fanfare, written off as some sort of failure. Sure, Paul Simon doesn’t always get it right – Cars Are Cars is fucking horrific and Randy Newman probably wouldn’t even write such dross for Pixar (even when it would meet the brief). So fuck knows what he was on about or up to there. But the title song is killer. Train In The Distance is gorgeous. These should be held up as examples to study; don’t come out of your bedsit young folk-guys and folk-girls until you’ve written a song that’s nearly half as good! And Rene And Georgette Maggritte With Their Dog After The War also gorgeous; also perfect. And The Late Great Johnny Ace too; a lovely/loving (double) tribute. You know this was going to be a Simon & Garfunkel reunion album, right? Artie didn’t like the songs. Paul basically said fuck off, you don’t like my songs, they seemed to serve you well in the past you jerk. Or something like that. And though that stubbornness, that bullishness and that sureness does tend to bring out things like Cars Are Cars it does also bring out all the other songs I’ve named here and so many other gems. Paul Simon is one of the great songwriters of the 20th Century. And he gets it right more often than not. My favourite albums from the Paul Simon catalogue seem to be the ones that flopped, that got ignored or written off. Weird. But I’m happy with that.
Sample Track: When Numbers Get Serious
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