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Paul Simon: In the Blue Light — perfected reworkings

Paul Simon: In the Blue Light — perfected reworkings

September 08
04:07 2018

Re-recording old songs is a perfectionist’s vanity project — except in this case the perfectionist has triumphed. Released just before Paul Simon brings his farewell tour to an end in his home city New York, In the Blue Light consists of 10 reworked songs from his solo career, tracks that Simon “thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around”.

“One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor” (1973) shimmies away from Rock-and-roll piano to a brassier New Orleans sound. “Love” (2000) is given a finer filigree with understated but highly detailed guitar-playing by Bill Frisell. Meanwhile Simon, in good voice throughout, alters the lyrics so that the original’s apocalyptic view of a loveless world is replaced by a more optimistic vision of connection (“Just love yourself and pass it on”).

“How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns” (1980) undergoes a radical change, becoming a stylish jazz nocturne sung ruminatively by Simon and featuring a fine trumpet turn from Wynton Marsalis. The latter’s presence is symbolic of the high level of musicianship throughout, and also the jazz-inflected direction that many of the reworked tracks take. The subtext is welcome: Simon may be about to quit the stage but his work is unfinished.


In the Blue Light’ is released by Sony Music

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