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Album Review: Paul Simon’s ‘In the Blue Light’

Documenting Popular Music

Release Date: 09/14/2018

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Documenting Popular Music

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The songwriter who could easily be considered America’s unofficial poet laureate has a new album in which he revisits past composition with new recordings and new interpretations. Paul Simon has been writing the soundtrack to multiple generations’ lives since the 1960s, when he and childhood friend Art Garfunkel took folk-rock music to new heights of popularity.

Simon’s subsequent solo career allowed him to continue growing as a writer, musician and performer who produced some of the most critically acclaimed albums and songs from the 1970s and 1980s.

For his new album, entitled In the Blue Light, Simon has chosen 10 songs from his past that he felt needed to be update with new arrangements, harmonic structures, lyrics and various other alterations.  The songs featured on the album are not from his large collection of Top 40 hits, but are instead album tracks that have filled out his unique ability to cleverly tell stories that have made him one of the most important songwriters of the past 50 years. 

In a special approach to reviewing In the Blue Light, journalist Robert Neil looks at a handful of the new recordings and compares them to the original versions of the songs.  Ultimately, Neil concludes that “fans who appreciate Simon’s inherent ability to write songs with rhythms, phrasings and melodies that can’t be found elsewhere, will find that In the Blue Light fits nicely alongside his best albums.”