16 October 2013

16th October - Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saints

Artist – Album: Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints
Released: 16th October 1990
Sounds Like: Less samba, more Black Mamba
After Graceland, Paul Simon was pretty much duty bound to release a similarly exotic follow up. Rather than book flights back to South Africa, however, Simon turned his attention to Brazil, the pumping, groove-heavy heart of the sometimes dark and violent South America. In a way, the music herein demonstrates a change in tone that is reflective of the difference between the two continents – both are percussion led and largely engaging, but where Graceland seemed to have an exuberant naivety to it, some of the sounds in The Rhythm of the Saints are shifty and stand off-ish, like those Colombian drug lords in Scarface.
The Obvious Child’ is by far the most open and accessible song in the set, propelled by outstanding drums recorded live in Bahia, Brazil. Within Simon ponders ageing (as he often does) in some of his most exquisite lyrics ever (“Sonny’s yearbook from high school comes down from the shelf, and he idly thumbs through the pages: some have died, some have fled from themselves, or struggled from here to get there”).
Thereafter, the rhythms calm down and Simon’s delivery becomes more hushed and disconnected. ‘Can’t Run But’ snakes like the great Amazon river; ‘Further to Fly’ and ‘She Moves On’ have the terrible majesty of an Incan sacrificial temple. Despite the triumphant release at the end of ‘The Cool, Cool River’, the verses beforehand are as anxious and tense as a crucial Superclásico derby. Still, a couple of rays of light do penetrate in the gorgeous chorus of ‘The Coast’ and in Milton Nascimento’s contributions to ‘Spirit Voices’, and no one can deny The Rhythm of the Saints’ overall underlying beauty.
Albumaday... rating: 7/10

1.       The Obvious Child – 4:10

2.       Can’t Run But – 3:36

3.       The Coast – 5:04

4.       Proof – 4:39

5.       Further to Fly – 5:36

6.       She Moves On – 5:03

7.       Born at the Right Time – 3:48

8.       The Cool, Cool River – 4:33

9.       Spirit Voices – 3:56

10.   The Rhythm of the Saints – 4:12
Listen to ‘The Coast’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5V__mhwbQ6w

Also released on 16th October:
1989: The Blue Nile - Hats

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