The other night I came across a phenomenal review that Robert Christgau wrote of Paul Simon’s classic album Graceland in 1986.
Though it’s giving in to the album’s most suspect tendencies to begin
this way, I’m here to tell you that Paul Simon’s Graceland is a
tremendously engaging and inspired piece of work. If you like him
thorny it’s his best record since Paul Simon in 1972, if you
like him smooth you can go back to There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in
1973, and either way you may end up preferring the new
one. Simon-haters won’t be won over–his singing has lost none of its
studied wimpiness, and he still writes like an English major. But at
least Graceland gets you past these usages, because it boasts
(Artie will never believe this) a bottom. For Simon, this is
unprecedented. Graceland is the first album he’s ever recorded
rhythm tracks first, and it gives up a groove so buoyant it could
float a loan to Zimbabwe.
Alas, that last line is still all too timely….