Veteran musician and song-writer Paul Simon returns with his latest solo album ‘Stranger to Stranger’. The new album, composed over the course of several years, sees Simon utilizing his trademark style with more experimental elements here and there, pushing out an album that surprises more than it would confound. ‘Stranger to Stranger’ offers a gentle pop aesthetic, done so in the way only Paul Simon could ever do, with his calming voice soaring over electronic blips and hand-made instruments. It seems unlikely that ‘Stranger to Stranger’ is the kind of album to be revered as highly as some of Simon’s earlier albums (both collaborative and solo), though it features many merits of its own that makes it an interesting listen.
Simon’s strong song-writing style is prevalent throughout the album, interrupted only by the inclusion of short instrumental tracks which help to break up the album somewhat and keep the flow moving. There’s some humour in a few of the tracks, with Simon’s natural story-telling like style coming through once again in great style. As well as this are the more bittersweet tracks, which combines the gentle vocal style with charming instrumentals that accompany in great form. Everything feels very meticulous and intricately designed, with it all coming across as a great effort to really push forward a cohesive album experience.
There’s certainly many merits to ‘Stranger to Stranger’, which is certainly a consistent and cohesive album experience. Whilst there are many strengths on the album, it does sometimes feel as though it’s not really enough present here to make a really strong and lasting impression. Everything is certainly charming and nice, but ‘Stranger to Stranger’ seems to lack that real same impact that made Simon’s earlier work so important and notable. It’s definitely hard to argue against the fact that the album is perhaps one of the strongest Simon has put out in recent years, with it certainly showcasing more creativity that some may have given him credit for at this age.
‘Stranger to Stranger’ is certainly a nice album, and perhaps that is all it really needs to be at this point in time. Simon has created some of the most important and well regarded music in his lucrative career, and it’s certainly admirable that there’s not been a clear attempt to just repeat those initial successes, and instead create something that is a little different from the norm. It’s definitely admirable, and ‘Stranger to Stranger’ certainly showcases a great creative style, one that shows Simon is always ready to attempt something new, even at this stage in his life.
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Paul Simon’s latest album ‘Stranger to Stranger’ is out now.