Quick Review (LP): So Beautiful or So What by Paul Simon

Paul Simon
So Beautiful or So What
Hear Music; 2011

My Rating: B (68/100)

Best Tracks: "The Afterlife", "Dazzling Blue", "Love Is Eternal Sacred Light"

A love and judgment humdinger.


  • Dangit, are my headphones busted again? (“Getting’ Ready…”)
  • So between this and Graceland, I don’t really know what Paul has been up to, but “Dazzling Blue” sounds a lot like it could have been on his 1986 masterpiece, and that’s a good thing.
  • "You got to fill out a form first/And then you wait in a line…"
  • As upbeat as the music sounds, the subject matter on this record appears pretty haunting.
  • I’m thinking that maybe this record is a sequel of sorts to Graceland, both in theme and in instrumentation.
  • Simon’s lyrics are, for the most part, great (as usual).
  • I’m thinking this is a very worthwhile album. It begs for deeper interaction.
  • There are some strong moments here, but Simon’s tendancy to get sing-songy can be a little too distracting. Unfortunately, anything that comes close to greatness is marred by a sort of Sting-ish jazz styling or a song-and-dance showiness. For that reason, you won’t find any moments so brilliant as a "Graceland" or as full of exuberant joy as a "Mother and Child Reunion."
  • The Pitchfork review of this album is really good and exceptionally well written.

Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (5/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (3/5)
Songs (4/5)

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