Paul Simon’s perhaps final Seven Psalms?
I wasn’t expecting a 33 minute, single track Paul Simon album contemplating death, but Seven Psalms is definitely worth a listen.
It almost feels like a Sufjan Stevens album: spare, pretty, plaintive, faithful.
I was curious if his wife, Edie Brickell’s voice would appear at all, and, sure enough, in the final half, it does. I’m actually a fan of hers, and she’s continued to make music in the last decade, although none of it has really captured me. It’s nice to see her singing the writing of an ultimately stronger songwriter.
I’ve always had an appreciation for Paul Simon, who has had several eras of relevance: several Simon and Garfunkel albums with several monolithic hits, his fun solo hits from the 60’s and 70’s, the way Graceland was so widely loved and then kind of disdained in later eras for his use of African music, I still remember thinking “You Can Call Me Al” was hilarious when it came out.
People are of course comparing this to recent “final albums” like Bowie’s Blackstar and Cohen’s You Want it Darker. If he actually kicks the bucket in the next few months, the comparisons will be inevitable. In any case, it’s a mellow, humble thing, not a giant, crushing, ambitious work like Blackstar.
It’s definitely unlike any other Paul Simon album though. he says that its 33 minutes are designed to be listened to in one go (which I am currently doing) hence why he smashes every track together into one, and ends it with a gentle harmony with his wife of decades, “Amen”.