Album #524 – Hearts and Bones

Album #524

Hearts and Bones was considered by many, including Paul Simon himself, to be a commercial disappointment. The album was originally going to be a Simon and Garfunkel release. They were fresh off their reunion concert in Central Park and wanted to collaborate again. But, it never materialized and Garfunkel’s contributions were deleted off the album, as he left the sessions early on. Simon was rebounding from a severe case of writer’s block he experienced. The songs are some of his most well written in years. Simon uses everyday abstract things (allergies, numbers, language, music) to convey feelings and relationships. It’s ahead of it’s time in more ways then one. The music is a combination of previous sounds Simon explored and also the new pop sounds of the early 80’s. Simon also writes about his life (Hearts and Bones) and fallen heroes (The Late Great Johnny Ace, written primarily about John Lennon’s death). Hearts and Bones features an all-star cast of musicians: Rob Mounsey, Bernie Edwards & Nile Rodgers of Chic, Steve Feronne, Steve Gadd, Jeff Porcaro, CBS Orchestra guitarist Sid McGinnis, Marcus Miller, Greg Phillinganes and Richard Tee. I’m not sure why the album was not a huge success. Maybe it was the production or the expectations. Simon was suffering from a career slump. Three years earlier, his album and film One Trick Pony went nowhere. The reunion with Garfunkel was a high-point but, Graceland would be his saving grace. Hearts and Bones contains great, well written songs with amazing lyrics. If you are looking for a Paul Simon album to discover, this is it. It really shows off just how amazing he was, and still is, with words. It’s just a shame nobody noticed. Other highlights include: Think Too Much (b), Train in the Distance and Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After The War. Overall, I give Hearts and Bones, 4.5 out of 5

Next: Porcupine by Echo & The Bunnymen

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