Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #70: "Dazzling Blue" -- Paul Simon

Some have called Paul Simon's So Beautiful or So What, his first full-length since 2006's Surprise, his best solo record since the possibly unmatchable Graceland. The validity of these statements can and should be tested by you, the ever eager listener, but the fact that anyone at all (especially Rolling Stone) is calling this record such a successful return to form is probably a good idea.

On a few of Simon's newest material, he revisits the sounds of Graceland, experimenting with many of the same elements of music that he enlisted for that album. As a result, many of the songs sound like they wandered off from the Graceland mothership, only to be rediscovered all these years later.

One such song is "Dazzling Blue," the record's third track. The track feels like very classic Simon from the get-go. Easygoing instrumentation accompanies Simon's weathered, laid-back vocal. African or Caribbean percussion underlies the tune. A sparse guitar provides a small solo.

Yep, we're basically in Graceland again.

And that's definitely not a problem. It's good to see Simon stick to his guns, as we can see what happens when bands or musicians decide to deviate from their norm and to try new, potentially risky things (see: Metallica). This is a calling card, so to speak, and Simon seems to have no problem giving in to the man.

Do yourself a favor and check out Simon if you haven't already. Many of the newest generation of teenagers need to discover this band as soon as possible.

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