You're the One
The Music Box's #3 album for 2000
First Appeared in The Music Box, January 2001, Volume 8, #1
Written by John Metzger
After his Broadway debut failed to find an audience, Paul Simon picked up the pieces and salvaged what he could for a mediocre album titled Songs from the Capeman. Rather than allow his defeat to get the best of him, however, Simon returned to the recording studio to produce an exquisite new batch of material that became You're the One, which effectively puts the gifted singer-songwriter right back on course.
Once again, Simon has turned to the '50s styles that he tapped for The Capeman, but this time around he merged them with the world-beat sounds he explored on Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. Given that he always has had a predisposition towards the early roots of rock 'n' roll, You're the One also serves to touch upon and summarize the entirety of his solo career. Consequently, the album doesn't break new ground so much as it offers a refreshing glimpse into the mellifluent melting pot that has defined Simon's music.
A few of the tracks on You're the One, such as the Buddy Holly-like vamp of Old and the rhythmically driven title track, are immediately infectious, but long ago, Simon gave up writing simple pop songs. Instead, he prefers the challenge of crafting dynamic, rhythmic orchestrations that merge a kaleidoscope of sounds into fluid sonic visions. While the percussion interludes are more subdued than they were on Rhythm of the Saints, the grooves remain the driving force behind Simon's compositions.
As with both Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints, the majority of the material on You're the One requires frequent visits in order to adequately absorb the full scope of the music, but those willing to invest the time certainly won't be disappointed. "Somewhere in a burst of glory, sound becomes a song," Simon sings on the opening track That's Where I Belong, offering a perfect description for his compositions. Throughout You're the One, the songs softly flow and mutate, and their gentle melodies lovingly caress the ear while displaying their complex inner beauty. The chime of a triangle, the smooth ascent of acoustic guitar, the flurry of percussion, the tearful strains of a pedal steel, and the soothing whisper of a bamboo flute all swirl together to form fanciful, rippling textures of rapturous aural ecstasy.
You're the One is unquestionably Simon at his best, making his already impressive catalog of albums even stronger. One can only hope that in the future he will record with more regularity, but if not, waiting a little longer between releases is well worth it if the result is as magnificent as this. ½
Of Further Interest...
You're the One is available from Barnes & Noble.
To order, Click Here!
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2000 The Music Box