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Design By Humans
Published On: Mon, Jun 13th, 2016

Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger

strangerPaul Simon
Stranger to Stranger
(Concord Records)

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Paul Simon’s newest record, Stranger to Stranger, is a hard one to pin down at the beginning. Instrumentally, it is one of Simon’s most experimental records. Some songs sound as if he sampled Samba beats and experiments with EDM, while others retain their sense of South African tribal influence, much like Graceland. Lyrically, it is some of the darkest material Simon has written. After releasing many records (13 to be exact), the listener finds these gloomy lyrics as a form of introspection. The song “Stranger to Stranger” finds Simon musing about his art with lyrics like, “Words and melodies so the old story goes/Fall from summer trees when the wind blows” and “I cannot be held accountable for the things I do or say.” The last song on the record, “Insomniac’s Lullaby,” addresses what any sane person would fear, the inability to sleep and he explores this anxiety with the haunting lyrics, “Oh Lord, don’t keep me up all night/Side by side with the moon/With its desolate eyes/Miles from the sunrise./The darkness inviting a tune/The Insomniac’s Lullaby.” It is difficult after over a dozen records to create new sounds and have new subject matter to discover, but what Stranger to Stranger does is take those expectations and destroys them. From there, Simon builds up a new eagerness that is so much more moving and elegiac than any listener could imagine.

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Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger