Review for Seven Psalms

8 / 10

To say I am a Paul Simon fan would be an understatement and the thought of a brand new Paul Simon album (after it has seemed he had already retired after the last one) was a welcome surprise. When I read about the concept of the album and the desire to write about the Seven Psalms I was a little worried that Simon had gone the 1970s Bob Dylan spiritual route, but that is not the case. If you have listened to any of his last albums (basically anything since You're The One) you will be used to the very experimental soundscapes that Simon has been producing. This is not the folk-rock of Simon and Garfunkel, the pop hits of his 1970s/80s era, but instead a new way to look at music and he has always been at the forefront of this.

This album of seven songs (all presented as one long song) is a bizarre one to listen to and my biggest issue (both as a positive and a negative) is that not much stands out when listening. At times the simple guitar of Simon, sounding more like his earlier acoustic and Simon and Garfunkel days and is just amazing, but the lyrics say absolutely nothing of any note throughout. At times I wished it was more an instrumental piece and there are moments that the music is just beautiful. There is a feeling of 'jamming' that I really enjoyed and these elements really helped the album. 

The fact that the songs can not be listened to separately (even as an option) is a little frustrating and it meant that memorable elements of the album cannot be found without having to listen to the full album. This is either a genius move to force fans to listen to the full album again and again or a strange one in this world of Playlists and quick listens that reduces the amount of people who will listen.

That being said, I still really enjoyed the album. There is a calm tranquillity which you can't find in many albums and this is the kind of music I would happily have on in the background while reading a book or lying in a bath. I am glad that Paul Simon has continued to produce music and if he produces an album like this every few years then I would absolutely welcome it. If you are looking for a Top Ten hit song then you won't find one on here, but for a deeply emotional experience this albums hits all the right notes, all seven of them.

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