INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Voice Of America JUNE 3, 2006 - by Doug Levine
PAUL SIMON RETURNS WITH A 'SURPRISE'
Paul Simon's new album Surprise has a surprising musical quality not heard on his previous albums. But there's one unsurprising element on it; Simon's ongoing concern for the human condition.
Musically, Surprise is no Graceland, Simon's 1986 Grammy-winning album. Nor does it sound like his earlier solo work, or for that matter, like Simon & Garfunkel. Instead, Paul Simon's first studio album in six years is in a category all its own.
If there was such a category for Surprise, it might be electronic ambient folk rock.
Simon has Grammy-winning producer and keyboardist Brian Eno to thank for creating the album's ethereal arrangements. Eno, who pioneered ambient music in the late-'70s, and later produced albums for Devo, Talking Heads and U2, is credited for providing the sonic landscape on Surprise.
While his music varies from album to album, Simon continues to invoke his melancholy musings. Among his recurring themes are relationships, faith, aging and inequality, themes that resurface on Surprise.