Picks and Pans Review: Hearts and Bones

updated 12/19/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/19/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Paul Simon

Simon originally asked Art Garfunkel to sit in on this album. ("I felt Artie wanted to be involved very much," he told one writer.) But In the mixing process, Garfunkel got mixed right out. Simon finally decided, he said, that the album was so personal he wanted to do it on his own. Anyway, even without Art, this is a memorable batch of Simon songs. Allergies, for instance, is a catchy, clever tune about a chronic emotional response to love. "From what I can see," he sings, "of the people like me/We get better/But we never get well." There's also a classy piece called Think Too Much (a) and (b) about the internecine battle between the hemispheres of the brain, with the refrain: "Maybe I think too much." There is a doo-wop sketch with the unlikely title René and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War; it features harmonizing by The Harptones. A melancholy tribute called The Late Great Johnny Ace begins with the 1954 news of the death of pioneer rocker Ace—yes, he's the one whose tune Emmylou does—and includes the news of John Lennon's murder; it ends with a somber string orchestration by composer Phillip Glass. Simon's plaintive, understated tenor is backed by an admirable studio band including Al Di Meola, Bernard Edwards, Jeff Porcaro and Nile Rodgers. The result, as usual with Simon, is a blend of feelings and intelligence.

From Our Partners