Surprise doesn’t strike the right chord

Duncan Macnab, Writer

Paul Simon received a lot of criticism for separating with long-time partner Art Garfunkel moving to a rock sound. Many people said folk to rock couldn’t work, but he did some very good work. However, it seems Simon has gone too far in the experimenting with sound in his latest album Surprise.

When bands or musicians last a long time, people expect greatness in a new style, or consistency and familiarity when producing a new album. The consistency and familiarity gets boring, but when the band does something out of the ordinary or experiments with a younger, newer sound, they sound too weird. This is what happened with Simon’s Surprise.

He decided to have a balding sound mixer and producer Brian Eno work the album. This was a mistake. Brian Eno belonged to the 80s and very early 90s. He should find another venue for employment.

It is evident in this album that Simon and Eno bickered a lot in the production. There are more than a few tracks where there is a cacophony of sounds, and there is a very meek sense of a theme throughout the album. Each song doesn’t transition smoothly from one to the next (either in the tempo or the melody).

There is one, and only one glimmer of hope that Simon didn’t just completely tarnish his credibility as a good singer and songwriter, and this is on Father and Daughter. Just look at the liner notes, Brian Eno did not mix or produce the song. Yes, Father and Daughter is good, but still not Simon’s best work.

Simon looks doomed to become the next old timer to sink in the same crowd that includes bands and musicians like Paul McCartney, Earth Wind and Fire, the Rolling Stones and Chicago, with over-priced shows and too many “best of” albums to shake a stick at.