Surprise

User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 55 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 55
  2. Negative: 4 out of 55

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  1. 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, 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.
  2. EdS
    May 10, 2006
    8
    Paul Simon - the great explorer. Could he be the National Geographic of soundscapes? Always guiding and pulling me into new places with his songs. Surprise indeed!
  3. JohnC
    May 20, 2006
    10
    Pure Simon - despite all the hype about Eno. Sounds gorgeous and the lyric poetry often haunting and sometimes packing an emotional wallop. If only he was more productive and we didn't have to wait six years betweeb albums!
  4. CarloS
    May 24, 2006
    10
    A song writing and sonic triumph! As good as Graceland
  5. stevep
    Jun 20, 2006
    10
    Once again, Paul reinvents himself-A fresh new sound. This CD will get in your head and stay there-it is contagious. The lyrics and melodies are fantastic and the band showcasing Gadd on drums with Eno's landscapes will have you hooked.
  6. GregB
    Jun 2, 2006
    10
    Stellar. This CD creeps up on you and then gets totally into your head after a few listens. Hooks galore, although they're subtle at first. Great lyrics too, many about growing older and taking stock. Eno's guitar work is perfect. This is easily another artistic peak, right up there with Rhythm of the Saints (his unheralded masterpiece IMO) and Graceland.
  7. DaveM
    Jun 7, 2006
    10
    Surprisingly outstanding. Simon's usual cryptic lyrics haven't changed, but this has virtually no weaknesses. A stronger effort than "You're The One" and trails only "Graceland" in his catalog of powerful work.
  8. AlejandroR
    May 10, 2006
    10
    Brilliant
  9. BobF
    May 11, 2006
    10
    The best pop album since Graceland. It's as if Paul Simon was listening to Death Cab For Cutie, took all the best parts and made them his own. It's Graceland for the 21st Century.
  10. JuliánS
    May 10, 2006
    10
    A great, great record
  11. MichaelG
    May 14, 2006
    10
    Outrageously good!!!
  12. ScottA
    May 15, 2006
    9
    Dylan has been given credit throughout his career for reinventions of himself. I find Simon's work here to be much the same and with similarly startling results. So much of the writing here is genuinely moving. Wartime Prayers is remarkable in saying a great deal with few words. I have been a fan forever with a few exceptions. This one ranks up there with Graceland, Hearts and Bones, Dylan has been given credit throughout his career for reinventions of himself. I find Simon's work here to be much the same and with similarly startling results. So much of the writing here is genuinely moving. Wartime Prayers is remarkable in saying a great deal with few words. I have been a fan forever with a few exceptions. This one ranks up there with Graceland, Hearts and Bones, Still Crazy and Rhymin' Simon. Thanks Paul, we needed this. Expand
  13. nancy
    May 20, 2006
    10
    I really love this album. I find it deeply emotional without being overwrought. His lyrics are deceptively simple and evoke a wide range of philosophical thoughts. I like the melodies, as well.
  14. cindyk
    May 22, 2006
    10
    superb
  15. mikes.
    Jun 26, 2006
    8
    lots of depth lyrically and eno's production provides layers of electronic ear candy. Excellent album, its a grower, For some reason I keep coming back to it, the more you listen to it the more you'll appreciate the genius of simon and eno.
  16. SuperDonkey
    Aug 14, 2006
    8
    Two historically talented musicians collaborate each contributing their own styles. Turned out great and we should be glad they were both open minded enough to try it. Cheers
  17. TiagoA
    Oct 20, 2009
    10
    Beautiful record!!!
  18. BennyS
    Nov 19, 2006
    9
    This album gets better and better with each playing as one starts to put together the ENTIRE picture of this excellent work of art. Not for the lazy minded. Thanks Paul!
  19. MattD.
    May 11, 2006
    9
    It's not as revolutionary as Graceland or as classic as his Simon and Garfunkel work, but it shows Simon moving forward in a way that doesn't lose his personality. And his voice is mostly in tact after all these years. Do not listen to Pitchfork - the lyrics are appealingly poetic as always.
  20. JoeK
    May 10, 2006
    7
    It's Simon's most interesting album since "Graceland," but it doesn't quite succeed. There are some GREAT moments, and the production is gorgeous with some great touches, but few tracks are engaging from start to finish. "How Can You Live In the Northeast?" starts off very promising - at first, it's everything one would wish for in an Eno/Simon collaboration, but It's Simon's most interesting album since "Graceland," but it doesn't quite succeed. There are some GREAT moments, and the production is gorgeous with some great touches, but few tracks are engaging from start to finish. "How Can You Live In the Northeast?" starts off very promising - at first, it's everything one would wish for in an Eno/Simon collaboration, but halfway through it, it slowly runs out of steam. So the album isn't all that consistent, but "Wartime Prayers" is a great track (it's the one with the gospel choir), "Father and Daughter" is very tuneful (originally issued on the "Wild Thornberrys (sic)" soundtrack, it sounds like a new mix here)...not one of his best, but I'd rank this with "Hearts & Bones" and "Rhythm of the Saints": uneven, but worth owning if you're a Paul Simon fan. Expand
  21. suep
    May 12, 2006
    10
    love it! nice one paul
  22. gerryb
    May 14, 2006
    9
    love the lyrics, love the arrangemnts, I cant stop listening to it
  23. BrainEmo
    May 15, 2006
    10
    masterpiece
  24. RY
    May 22, 2006
    8
    All the organic and unique Paul Simon melodies and rhythms, against a different backdrop. Moments of greatness and moments of OK-ness.
  25. DaleK
    May 23, 2006
    10
    This is a great album! Paul's phrasing is confident, assured, each note is perfect. The music is interesting, and the sound thru headphones is spacey and pleasant. A CD that will make you happy.
  26. SpudderSpudder
    Jun 16, 2006
    9
    Repeated listening reveals depths that popular music is not supposed to reach. M
  27. JohnL
    Jun 29, 2006
    10
    His best since "Rythm of the Saints" ('91) !!!! And in my humble opinion, my favorite album of this decade, so far !! How's that for a real "10" ! He and Eno have put together a soundscape that positively glimmers and shakes with a Revolverish psuedo-psychedelic wash (only psuedo, or ish because it's notably Eno updated modern, in a good way, but still feels like Revolver His best since "Rythm of the Saints" ('91) !!!! And in my humble opinion, my favorite album of this decade, so far !! How's that for a real "10" ! He and Eno have put together a soundscape that positively glimmers and shakes with a Revolverish psuedo-psychedelic wash (only psuedo, or ish because it's notably Eno updated modern, in a good way, but still feels like Revolver does)...the writing may be his most Spiritually based ever(always a strong theme-point for his works anywho), and everything shines and suprises therein. To me it feels kind of like "Hearts and Bones" (an album I rate up there on his toppest of most top shelf works), and may be as overlooked for it's equally eclectic nature as it's predecessor sadly was at it's time. This feels like a breakthrough for Simon similar to the way Graceland did (following The Capeman & You're the One), and he continues to amaze me with how great jis merely good albums are, and, for events such as this, how downright breathtaking his creative peaks are !!! Blessings of Love & Light to all who read this !!!! Expand
  28. ERobinson
    Jul 20, 2006
    10
    The music is so interesting; its melodic and crashing within one song. The lyrics keep catching me by 'surprise' as I listen again and again.
  29. llior
    Aug 28, 2006
    9
    a superb album musically and lyrically . maybe a bit long , but brilliant nevertheless. each song has at least one unforgetable line.
  30. LincJ
    Sep 13, 2006
    10
    This is his best since "Rythm of The Saints" ! It is my favorite album of the year, and maybe of the deacade so far. It sounds, feels and reads just amazing. It really feels like he's rejuvinated. He and Eno fit together seamlessly ! A classic to be sure !!!!
  31. JeffS
    Jan 5, 2007
    9
    After the 3rd listen, its the best "new" sound I've heard in years. Wonderful poetry (not that I'm a bit poetry fan), good Simon rythms, and I love the Eno background.
  32. CW
    Mar 23, 2007
    10
    Awesome music with insightful lyrics!
  33. MarkE
    May 30, 2009
    7
    Good record. Eno adds interesting touches to the music and doesn't overwhelm Simon's folky core. Lyrics will keep you wanting more. But no great songs here that match up with Simon's best work. Best tracks are Outrageous and Beautiful.
  34. EdwardC
    May 12, 2006
    8
    Harks back to Sticks and Bones with some really complex ideas in the lyrics. Hard-edged lyrically, but not musically.
  35. BrettF
    May 15, 2006
    9
    Really solid and reflective work from a pop legend. It takes a few spins, but it's one of his best.
  36. LisaW
    May 15, 2006
    9
    Of his newer music, there cant be any comparison to Graceland, but I have been listening to it ever since it came out, and like it more and more each time. no one has such a way with words as paul simon
  37. Kyle
    May 21, 2006
    9
    With Eno producing, no album blends lyrics with Peter Gabriel-like soundscapes like this album. It's catchy the first time through and even better as you go through and dig into Paul's amazing lyrics. Right under Graceland in my opinion
  38. joee
    May 27, 2006
    10
    It's the BEST cd I've bought in 5 years and I buy allot of music. I bought because it's the "new" Paul Simon album no question bout it, has't be great tunes. It's no "Surprise". Look who wrote the cd. Joe (peace)
  39. 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 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. ItBetter 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
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. Despite the album's shiny surface, Simon sounds like Simon.
  2. "Surprise" falls shy of a masterpiece, but it is consistently engaging and offers some of Simon's most creative songs in two decades.
  3. An ambitious and challenging work full of sonic experimentation and oblique lyrics.