Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Paul Simon: There Goes Rhymin' Simon [Columbia, 1973]
Quite consciously--why do you think the new single is so equivocal about the phony hues Kodachrome lays on reality?--Simon sacrifices the manic-depressive range of his solo debut in search of an equivalent for S&G's all-encompassing homiletic pleasantness. The vocals are softer, smoothed over with borrowed or double-tracked harmonies, and the pep shots from more specialized styles (by the Dixie Hummingbirds, the Onward Brass Band) less speedy. The lyrics celebrate domestic satisfactions and seem to find political ambiguities more curious than ominous. None of which is bad or dishonest--it suggests a new grace and flexibility for the mass-pop mode, and invests small subjects and emotions with an almost luminous wit and awareness. But I have my doubts about Kodachrome too. B+