Daily from June 14-15
Half a century after "The Sound of Silence" arrived with considerable clatter, Paul Simon is still rhymin', chimin', and diversifyin'. The latter quality refers to the broad swath of influences he's tapped into throughout his career, perhaps reaching a new peak on his engaging new album, Stranger to Stranger
. Not only do Simon's new songs resonate with echoes of African, Latin, and folk elements, but there are manipulated samples from various sources including 1930s-era gospel, bizarre instruments invented by microtonal composer Harry Partch, and streaks of his distinctive pop savvy. Three tunes also boast crackling electronic pulses via Italian producer Clap! Clap! (aka Digi G'Alessio). Simon's lyrics throughout are sharp and clever, laced with wit and deeper meaning, his wordplay as lithe and dexterous as his still-boyish voice. In short, Simon is in prime form at age 74, still experimenting, still thought-provoking, still sounding great, still a little crazy after all these years.