Paul Simon: Stranger to Stranger

16 Jul


Paul Simon’s first album since 2011, Stranger to Stranger is a solid collection from the celebrated singer-songwriter. 

The album begins with ‘The Werewolf’, a funny rumination on life, taking in the various mundane crises people have to deal with. The Werewolf stands in for an outside threat that is ultimately just as omnipresent as any of the more prosaic obstacles people have to face.

‘Wristband’ tells the story of a rock star who accidentally locks himself out of a venue after stepping out for a smoke. He tries to get in through the front but finds that, despite his fame, he is unable to get back inside. A rather imaginative metaphor for class, the image of the wristband becomes both more important and more insignificant as the song progresses.

The title track is the standout, an expansive, almost cinematic number about love, relationships and human interaction. Simon litters his verses with quotes and cliches of old love songs.

The songs may not be as immediately memorable as some of his earlier work, but there no obvious dead spots. The album is best listened to in its entirety, as the songs definitely feel of a piece. The production is warm and understated — even the touches of world music which have been a part of Simon’s sound since Graceland don’t feel out of place.

Overall, Stranger to Stranger is a strong effort that grows more interesting the more you listen to it.


By Tim George


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