New Paul Simon Album Streaming

Paul Simon
Image Courtesy of Paul Simon

NPR has made Paul Simon’s long-awaited new album, So Beautiful or So What, available to play at your leisure until its US release on 12th April.

The consensus among early reviews is that this is Simon’s best work since 1986’s Graceland. NPR’s Ken Tucker, while offering the album its most critical appraisal yet, nonetheless admits that it blends “the two best strands of his solo career: the articulate navel-gazing of his 1972 solo debut and Graceland‘s 25-year-old rhymin’ Simon in rhythm”.

Timber and Steel will be posting our own in depth review early next week, but our first listen tells us that it is certainly the most playful and experimental Simon has been in quite a while. It is as contemplative as any of his albums, but its unexpected changes in timbre and tempo offer us more space to consider and interpret his words. One has the sense that none of the stories he tells are his own, and that even the narrators in the songs don’t represent him. The album, like its title, is a question, even a challenge to the listener. It is what we make of it.

Click here to stream Paul Simon’s So Beautiful or So What and decide for yourself. It’s released in Australia on Friday, and if you preorder it on iTunes, you receive as bonuses a free “making of video” and a recent live rendition of “Peace Like a River” from his first solo album.

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