Despite all the shifts during his recording career — from the angelic folk of Bookends to the roots-pop of Paul Simon, from the Afro-Latinate Graceland and The Rhythm of the Saints to the Eno-scapes of his most recent album, Surprise — Paul Simon has remained faithful to his muse: his inner life. His lithe, sculpted melodies and uncanny surrender to collaborators save him from solipsism or self-importance. Though blessed with a silky tenor, Simon demanded Garfunkel sing his greatest songs, and though an expert guitarist, he turned to a host of pickers for the exquisite Hearts and Bones. In his songs real and imagined characters speak rapt, detailed, emotional truths through him, mostly with a strangely affectionate irony, but always with a generous sense of craft that makes him the most personal and universal of the great American songwriters.
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