For anyone who’s been listening to great music during the past half-century, Paul Simon is certainly no stranger. So one of the most remarkable things about his extraordinary new masterpiece, Stranger to Stranger—Paul Simon’s 13th solo record—is that it conjures a vivid and vital new context to his well-established genius as a singer and songwriter. Full of thrilling textures that feel fresh and modern, while still offering subtle and artful allusions to our shared musical past, Stranger to Stranger presents the perfect opportunity to get to know Paul Simon in a new way.
“Most obits are mixed reviews,” Simon sings with dry wit on the album’s thrilling and darkly funny opening track, “The Werewolf.” Here, Paul Simon’s strong voice and conversational lyrics usher us into a brave new musical world where expectations are defied and exceeded, as they were thirty years ago with another masterpiece, Graceland.
Stranger to Stranger’s distinctive sonic textures allow the listener to experience Simon’s singular voice with the shock of the new. The album’s visceral and ever-changing musical palette allows us to recall what we have loved about Paul Simon in the past; at the same time we feel passion for this new music that artfully speaks to the good, the bad and the ugly in our jittery world, here and now.
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