Paul Simon: In The Blue Light – a new coat of paint for some faded old songs

Fri, Sep 7, 2018, 05:00


In The Blue Light

Paul Simon


Singer / Songwriter

In the intensity of the late career “blue light” referenced in his 1977 song How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns, Paul Simon and longtime producer Roy Halee reconsider “songs that I thought were almost right, or were odd enough to be overlooked the first time around”. It is a concept fraught with danger: they might be his songs but, framed in warm memory, they also belong to his listeners. Yet, with the same artistic bravura that marked his recent Dublin concert, Simon carefully balances each song’s legacy and his need to make it anew. Most are almost 20 years old or more, with the largely unheralded 2000 album You’re the One contributing three tracks including the heartrending Darling Lorraine. This temporal distance softens the impact of these jazzy, post-classical arrangements, but it is still surprising to hear the classic René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War in its new, more detached setting. However, it is easy to be seduced by the sheer breadth of Simon’s musical imagination, though even he harbours doubts: “I hope the listener will find these new versions of old songs refreshed, like a new coat of paint on the walls of an old family home.”