If, like me, you thought that Paul Simon had retired, you were wrong. The iconic singer-songwriter has finally announced the release of his new album, “Seven Psalms,” a conceptual piece that is meant to be listened to as one 33-minute piece of work. The album, which was recorded entirely on acoustic instruments, consists of seven interlinked songs that Simon calls “movements.” This sounds like a new concept for him, closer to classical music than he even was, with choral contributions from the British vocal group VOCES8, and his wife, Edie Brickell.
Besides his rework of older songs with the release of “In the Blue Light” in 2018, Simon hadn’t released any new music since his 2016 album “Stranger to Stranger.” After the announcement of his retirement around that time, fans thought they would never get new music from the music legend, until Simon was spotted recording new material in a New-York Reservoir Studios last year.
“Seven Psalms,” co-produced by Kyle Crusham, will be released on May 19 with a companion documentary, “In Restless Dreams,” directed by Alex Gibney. The trailer has already surfaced on YouTube and you can watch it below. Simon even explains the origin of the album: “On January 15th, 2019, I had a dream that said ‘You are working on a piece called “Seven Psalms.”‘ The dream was so strong that I got up and I wrote it. But I had no idea what that meant. Gradually, information would come. I would start to wake up two or three times a week between 3:30 and 5 in the morning, and words would come, I’d write them down, then start to put it together. I like to work and then discover. Well, it’s really interesting. I’m trying all the time to move things in this kind of flow way that puts you in a dream, and I think if you’re willing to fall into a dream space, you’re willing to let your judgment down. This is a journey for me to complete. This whole piece is really an argument I’m having with myself about belief or not.”
The first song of the album is indeed entitled “The Lord” and Simon even sings: “The Lord is my engineer… The Lord is the face in the atmosphere… The Lord is my record producer”…“Hoping the gates won’t be closed before your forgiveness.”
In the trailer, you can hear tiny bits of the album, and this sounds both familiar and a new orientation for Paul Simon… I just hope it doesn’t get too religious! At 82, it’s quite natural to question your own belief, and to wonder “how the limitation of your belief always tends to be tied to your conception of your mortality.”
Seven Psalms track list:
- The Lord
- Love Is Like A Braid
- My Professional Opinion
- Your Forgiveness
- Trail of Volcanoes
- The Sacred Harp
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