Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic 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. Patience is rewarded with moments of stellar songwriting.
  3. 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.
  4. In a meeting of the minds, the folk hero and the electronic-music guru produce an unexpectedly listenable collection of songs that doesn't really compromise either of their styles.
  5. 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.
  6. Surprise's pervasive feeling of woe and caution makes it Simon's first album since Graceland where the sound isn't just a gimmick.
  7. If the lack of truly standout melodies ultimately derails this effort just short of greatness, it’s hard to find fault with such a warm, generous and open-hearted collection of songs.
  8. Simon’s certainly earned the right to go playing around in the sonic playground, but what’s most refreshing—and surprising—about Surprise is how he manages to do so while being enviably comfortable with himself.
  9. 80
    A comeback of unexpected maturity and power. [Jun 2006, p.110]
  10. Daring, inventive and groundbreaking.
  11. 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.
  12. This surprise is an entirely pleasant one. [27 May 2006, p.33]
  13. A richly rewarding listen. [Jul 2006, p.114]
  14. Despite the album's shiny surface, Simon sounds like Simon.
  15. "Surprise" falls shy of a masterpiece, but it is consistently engaging and offers some of Simon's most creative songs in two decades.
  16. An ambitious and challenging work full of sonic experimentation and oblique lyrics.
  17. Eno definitely does imbue the mix with some sonically compelling elements, washing songs through some darker-than-usual moods.
  18. What is startling about Simon's latest solo effort is how fresh and alive it sounds.
  19. 70
    Though couched in arrangements that sometimes camouflage their immediacy, the tunes are dependably strong. [Jul 2006, p.100]
  20. Simon sounds uncomfortable in most of these settings, like a fellow who's wandered into the wrong party and sticks around stiffly trying to fit in.
  21. The problem with Surprise is the songs Simon has chosen to undergo the Eno treatment.
  22. His one-man band's busy textures can't fully distract from insipid songwriting.
  23. 50
    Simon wasn't born to sing over drum & bass. [Jun 2006, p.148]
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 40 out of 42
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 42
  3. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. Mar 24, 2012
    8
    Better than Graceland... there... I said it. It's very easy to write off artists from the sixties who still record these days. This isBetter 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. Full Review »
  2. Nov 21, 2010
    8
    A good album. So it isn't nearly the masterpiece that Rhythm of the Saints and Graceland were, but it is still pretty remarkable, especiallyA 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. Full Review »
  3. TiagoA
    Oct 20, 2009
    10
    Beautiful record!!!