Paul Simon – Surprise (2006/2010) [HDTracks FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Paul Simon – Surprise (2006/2010)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 45:19 minutes | 550 MB | Genre: Rock
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Digital booklet | © Concord Records

Released in May of 2006, Surprise is Paul Simon’s eleventh studio album. It was well-received by critics and featured the singles “Father and Daughter”, and “Outrageous”. The album peaked at #14 on the US Billboard 200 Chart.

The obvious surprise of Surprise, Paul Simon’s tenth solo album and his first since 2000’s underrated You’re the One, is that the singer/songwriter has enlisted Brian Eno as his collaborator. At first glance the pairing seems odd, even awkward, since they seem to come from opposing backgrounds: Simon the folk-rock troubadour and Eno the avant-garde art rock adventurist. Dig a little deeper, and the similarities do surface. For one, there is the mutual shared interest in world music – most evident in Eno’s productions/collaborations with Talking Heads at the turn of the ’70s and on Simon’s 1986 Graceland and its 1990 follow-up, The Rhythm of the Saints, but there are undercurrents running as far back as Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecilia.” But more than any other singer/songwriter of his generation, Paul Simon has demonstrated a keen interest in having his albums sound unique and distinct from each other, using each album as an opportunity to explore a different sonic characteristic, so working with a sonic landscaper (as his back-cover credit on Surprise calls him) is not out of character. Similarly, Eno has not been entirely adverse to pop, either, as his ongoing collaboration with U2 proves, not to mention his productions for James or even the flamboyant pop of such early Roxy Music singles as “Virginia Plain.” So, their collaboration here is unexpected, but not unnatural – in fact, it’s anything but unnatural, since Surprise is as seamless and graceful as Graceland, which it resembles greatly in how it blends a new sound with Simon’s songs. But where Graceland found Simon writing around existing rhythm tracks, the opposite is true here: Eno fills in the space behind songs, creating an evocative, dream-like bed for Simon’s words, which, more than ever, scan equally well as poetry as they do song lyrics. Simon was shifting toward this direction on You’re the One, but he pushes even harder here, largely abandoning familiar song structures – only two cuts here have something resembling a conventional chorus, and one of those is “Father and Daughter,” originally released on the Wild Thornberrys soundtrack and the only track not treated by Eno – for elliptical, winding songs that demand attention.

01 – How Can You Live in the Northeast?
02 – Everything About It Is a Love Song
03 – Outrageous
04 – Sure Don’t Feel Like Love
05 – Wartime Prayers
06 – Beautiful
07 – I Don’t Believe
08 – Another Galaxy
09 – Once Upon a Time There Was an Ocean
10 – That’s Me
11 – Father and Daughter

Paul Simon – Vocals, Guitar
Adrian Simon – Vocals
Jessy Dixon Singers – Vocals
Vincent Nguini – Acoustic guitar
Bill Frisell – Electric guitar
Herbie Hancock – Piano
Gil Goldstein – harmonium, keyboards
Alex Al – Bass
Abraham Laboriel – Bass
Pino Palladino – Bass
Leo Abrahams – Fretless bass
Robin DiMaggio – Drums
Steve Gadd – Drums
Jamey Haddad – Percussion
Brian Eno – Electronics, Sound landscape
Andy Smith – Recording & programming
Tchad Blake – Mixing
Chris Testa – Engineer