Paul Simon, So Beautiful or So What (Hear) 

Paul Simon—69 and fearless—tackles spirituality, mortality and the endless, mysterious power of love on a stunning new record that eclipses all of his solo work since Graceland.

With poetic directness and restless curiosity, Simon's lyrics are loaded with questions and pondering about the meaning of life, the nature of God and where precisely humanity fits in the vastness of eternity. Song titles like "Love Is Eternal Sacred Light" and "Questions for the Angels" cut right to the point.

Simon's contributions to rock and folk music are as great as anyone's, and 25 years after Graceland, So Beautiful or So What arrives as a statement of continued relevance. Musically, it's dense and gorgeous, with those familiar vivid rhythms and flourishes that he's turned to in his latter work. The album is consistent almost to a fault; despite its other strengths, it is missing the sort of timeless single that he's turned out over and over.

Simon's skilled songwriting finds and subsequently reveals fascination in the small details of daily life, at the same time as he's dealing with life's huge questions. As he sings in "The Afterlife," "It seems like our fate to suffer and wait for the knowledge we seek."

Simon is certainly a seeker—with a long career of making incredible musical progressions outside of any trend. Produced by Simon and Phil Ramone, So Beautiful or So What is like a long and lively conversation, rushing through ideas and questions as if they were thrill rides.

More by Eric Swedlund

  • This Ain’t Basketball

    Diverse Tucson quintet unleashes its fifth LP
    • Oct 20, 2016

    Matt and Kim headline new Dusk Music Festival bringing other national and local acts together
    • Oct 13, 2016
  • The Madcap Laughs

    Why onetime Tucsonan Robyn Hitchcock is a two and a half trick pony
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

The Range

Get Your Spooks On for a Halloweekend at Hotel Congress

In the Flesh: Howe Gelb's 60th B-day Bash at the Rialto Theater

Song of the Day: 'Cosmic Love Song No. 23' by Louise Le Hir

More »

Latest in Rhythm & Views

  • Rhythm & Views

    American Monoxide “In Flight Mode” (People In A Position To Know)
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Rhythm & Views

    Wight Lhite “Beyond the Satellites” (Paisley Shirt Records)
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Noise Annoys

    Mute Swan and the Curse of Local Hype
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Honky Tonk Girl

    How this Tucson 19-year-old might trip the country electric
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • More »

Facebook Activity

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation