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Home » Music » Pop » Singer/Songwriter

Surprise

Artist: Paul Simon

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Label: Warner Bros.
Album: Surprise
# Song Title   Time
1)    How Can You Live in the Northeast?
2)    Everything About It Is a Love Song
3)    Outrageous
4)    Sure Don't Feel Like Love
5)    Wartime Prayers
6)    Beautiful
7)    I Don't Believe
8)    Another Galaxy
9)    Once Upon a Time There Was an Ocean
10)    That's Me
11)    Father and Daughter
 



Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Paul Simon (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar); Paul Simon (vocals); Adrian Simon, Adriana Simon, Jessy Dixon Singers (vocals); Alex Al (bass instrument); Abraham Laboriel, Sr. , Pino Palladino (bass guitar); Andy Smith (programming); Vincent Nguini (acoustic guitar); Bill Frisell (electric guitar); Herbie Hancock (piano); Gil Goldstein (harmonium, keyboards); Leo Abrahams (fretless bass); Robin Dimaggio, Steve Gadd (drums); Jamey Haddad (percussion); Brian Eno (electronics).
  • Audio Mixer: Tchad Blake.
  • Recording information: Capitol studios, Los Angeles, CA; Clinton Studios, NY; Lansdowne Studios, London, England; Mayfair Studios, London, England; Ocean Way, Nashville, TN; Right Track Studios, NY; sony Studios, NY; the Hit Factory, NY.
  • Photographers: Paul Simon; Loreto Caceres; Charles Duke; Peter Zander; Foster Witt; Laurent Millet; Paul Treacy; Jason Todd; Erika Larsen; Geoff Spear; Michael Vitti.
  • As a master craftsman of song, Paul Simon takes his time between albums. SURPRISE arrived six years after its 2000 predecessor YOU'RE THE ONE, but proved to be well worth the wait. In the realization of a process that was already beginning on that earlier album, SURPRISE fully assimilates the international influences of GRACELAND and RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS into a style that's equally polyrhythmic yet indebted to no lone cultural tradition. It doesn't hurt that this is a historic collaboration with producer Brian Eno, who's been delving into pan-ethnic waters since 1981's MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS.
  • For his part, Eno adds more electronics to the mix than Simon has ever employed before, but like the former's trademark, they're of a warm, organic nature. Ultimately, they add as much propulsion to the tunes as Simon's world-music percussionists of yore did, and they're fully integrated with Simon's own graceful acoustic guitar patterns. A continually evolving artist, Simon leaves structural convention ever further behind; the vocal syncopations and poetic imagery are unmistakable, but they consistently flout expectation. Lyrically, SURPRISE makes its post-9/11 and post-Katrina allusions clearly but subtly, joining with the electro-acoustic musical approach in making this an album of, but not bound to, its time.

Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.229) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Eno outfits some of Simons' most elegant songs with spacey accouterments..."

Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "[W]ith moments of stellar songwriting....Eno finds a smart way to accent Simon's worry lines." -- Grade: A-

Q (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Eno's washes of sound are present and correct. He also appears to have given Simon's still bittersweet voice a deeper, warmer timbre."

Q (p.123) - Ranked #32 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of 2006" -- "A timely reminder of the power of thinking; positive or otherwise."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Though couched in arrangements that sometimes camouflage their immediacy, the tunes are dependably strong."

Producer:Paul Simon; Paul Simon
Format:CD (0 Disc); Stereo
Country:USA
Studio/Live: Studio
Release Date:9 May, 2006

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For his part, Eno adds more electronics to the mix than Simon has ever employed before, but like the former's trademark, they're of a warm, organic nature. Ultimately, they add as much propulsion to the tunes as Simon's world-music percussionists of yore did, and they're fully integrated with Simon's own graceful acoustic guitar patterns. A continually evolving artist, Simon leaves structural convention ever further behind; the vocal syncopations and poetic imagery are unmistakable, but they consistently flout expectation. Lyrically, SURPRISE makes its post-9/11 and post-Katrina allusions clearly but subtly, joining with the electro-acoustic musical approach in making this an album of, but not bound to, its time.

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