Exposé Online banner

Paul Simon — Surprise
(Warner Bros 49982-2, 2006, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2007-03-01

Surprise Cover artIt should come as no big shock that singer-songwriter Paul Simon would be seeking a new sonic vehicle for his well-established career. Given the international success of Graceland it's clear that Simon can distill varying influences into his songs and deliver on high quality efforts that continue to distinguish his career. Enlisting audio sculptor Brian Eno to further extend his lyrical reach has given the composer an edgy outlook that fits the times. Starting out with the riffing guitars on "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" Eno is fully engaged, providing suitable backwards guitar loops to a CD brimming with adventure. In contrast, "Outrageous" is a funky ode to growing older that works as a well crafted dance track due to the rock solid drumming of Robin Dimagio. Jazz luminaries Bill Frisell and Herbie Hancock also make memorable cameos on "Everything About It Is a Love Song" and "War Time Prayers," Frisell's airy leads fluttering over Steve Gadd's incendiary drumming on the former piece; on the latter, Hancock's piano graces an ambient song showcasing Simon's lyrics imparting family hardships. For a 60s artist to create such a vital recording is a testament to close collaboration with Eno. Overall the sound quality on the disc is first rate and a credit to the engineering team for the multiple sessions.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Brian Eno, Bill Frisell, Paul Simon

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Providence - There Once Was a Night of "Choko-muro" the Paradise – Some may recall the first, very highly regarded Providence CD And I'll Recite an Old Myth... from around 1990. At that point they had already released a couple cassettes, two videos, and appeared on...  (1996) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues