Surprise - Paul Simon
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 55 Ratings

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  • Summary: The singer-songwriter's first solo album in six years also marks his first collaboration with legendary producer and artist Brian Eno. (Finally, a worthy successor to Garfunkel!) Bill Frisell and Herbie Hancock guest.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. It's a bravura performance on both men's part.... A thrilling return to form.
  2. Unlike such deservedly praised comeback albums from some of his peers -- such as Dylan's Love and Theft, the Rolling Stones' A Bigger Bang, Paul McCartney's Chaos and Creation in the Backyard -- Simon doesn't achieve his comeback by reconnecting with the sound and spirit of his classic work; he has achieved it by being as restless and ambitious as he was at his popular and creative peak, which makes Surprise all the more remarkable.
  3. It’s almost as good as ['Hearts & Bones'], and likely to be as undervalued, but don’t worry: give it 20 years and its cadenced ruminations and instantly dated production will get some love from the usual suspects.
  4. There's no African or South American experimentation on display here, just a return to what Paul Simon does best - wonderfully wordy, literate songs wedded to some of the most lovely melodies you're likely to hear all year.
  5. 70
    Though couched in arrangements that sometimes camouflage their immediacy, the tunes are dependably strong. [Jul 2006, p.100]
  6. What is startling about Simon's latest solo effort is how fresh and alive it sounds.
  7. 50
    Simon wasn't born to sing over drum & bass. [Jun 2006, p.148]

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 42
  3. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Nov 21, 2010
    A good album. So it isn't nearly the masterpiece that Rhythm of the Saints and Graceland were, but it is still pretty remarkable, especially as it represents an unprecedented fifth decade of great music from one of America's most talented artistic geniuses. To put it into context, I can't think of any other musician who has ever managed more than three decades of great work. Expand
  2. Mar 24, 2012
    Better than Graceland... there... I said it. It's very easy to write off artists from the sixties who still record these days. This is understandable given that it's 30 odd years since the last good Rolling Stones song and the best thing a Beatle has done since '69 has been Thomas the Tank Engine. What Simon has done here though should appeal to people who don't even read Mojo magazine. It is a wonderful record. 'How Can You Live in the Northeast' could have been written by Arcade Fire, 'Father and Daughter' is just beautiful. Well worth the purchase. Expand

See all 42 User Reviews