Paul Simon — “So Beautiful Or So What”

Updated 7 Feb. with “The Afterlife” link

Paul Simon So Beautiful or So What album cover

OK, this post serves basically two purposes.

One is that after posting the video for the first single for the album, I’ve already started getting some search traffic with people looking for information about it.

The other is that, after my experiences being contacted by and working with publicists for Jewel and Lori McKenna, this is a desperate plea for an advance review copy of the new album. (I previously got a little bit of attention on some Paul Simon forums for my post about the Simon and Garfunkel performance at Jazzfest in New Orleans last year.)

That said, it was a sad statement of my fandom when I had to learn about the new CD on Facebook when my friend and former coworker Maggie posted the video.

If you haven’t seen the video, I posted it a while back, and, while the single is available on iTunes, you can download it for free on the official Paul Simon site.

The album drops on April 12, as a CD, deluxe CD/DVD and vinyl record. (Amazon currently has only the CD/DVD combolisted for pre-order.)

The first single will also be the first track, full track listing is (with versions and info currently available, subject to change):

  1. Getting Ready for Christmas Day ( Lyrics )
  2. The Afterlife
  3. ( Streaming )

  4. Dazzling Blue
  5. Rewrite ( Lyrics )
  6. Love and Hard Times ( Live Performance | Lyrics )
  7. Love is Eternal Sacred Light
  8. Amulet ( Cover Video | Preview | Lyrics [Unsure if SBOSW version will be same])
  9. Questions for the Angels ( Lyrics [This song was released as a single on iTunes but withdrawn])
  10. Love and Blessings
  11. So Beautiful or So What

PaulSimonWeb has an extensive article about the album, with some interesting information. Going through the links above, the officially released first single is the only one that’s in a form that reflects the final product, so I’ll be very eager to hear what the actual album sounds like.

Several sites are reporting that Simon has said it’s his best work in 20 years, which would be back in the Rhythm of the Saints era (and would slight only You’re The One and Surprise, and possibly Capeman, depending on what he counts).  It also supposedly has a bluegrass influence; though apparently refers to Quicksilver playing on two tracks, not necessarily the entire album; a mix of styles and influences would be typical of a Paul Simon album, and would indeed hearken back to the Graceland/Rhythm era. (Regardless of what the final version sounds like, the current Spanish version of Amulet is another indicator of that sort of direction, as is, of course, the funky feel of the first single.)

For now, the first single is interesting, the cover is very pretty, and the other hints about the album are intriguing. I look forward to hearing the rest of it. (Hint, hint.)