Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints (1990)


Speaking out at Shari Newman’s Hallowe’en party on Chittenden Avenue in Columbus’s Ohio State University district this weekend, Dokken fan Alan Rich dismissed Paul Simon’s new Rhythm of the Saints album as “not a patch on [just released Don Dokken solo Lp] Up From the Ashes. It may not even be as good as [current Ratt release] Detonator.”

Dressed for the party as the Unabomber in a simple grey hooded sweatshirt, fake mustache, curly wig and sunglasses, Rich called himself an “eclectic” music fan with an “real open mind” though readily admits to being an “absolute, A-number 1 Dokken fan.”

“Basically, I dig everything from classics like Zep, Sabs and Purp to modern stuff like G’n’R and Bon Jovi. So it’s not like I’m not willing to try new things. But this record, with its smooth, complex ‘jungle’ rhythms and literate, cosmopolitan lyrics lacks the basic Les Paul and Marshall stack guitar sound and 4/4 beat that makes great music. I don’t hear one chorus that says ‘party anthem’ like ‘Stay’ or ‘Mirror, Mirror.’ And the ‘The Obvious Child?’ Seriously, what’s that even about?”

“It ain’t obvious to me,” he added with a chuckle.

Pointing out the loud volume at which Rhythm was being played, Rich noted that “It doesn’t even sound good cranked up,” calling that a “sure sign” of the record’s deficiency.

But pre-med student Newman, who received the record in September as a birthday present from long-time boyfriend Kevin Nelson, said she likes music from other cultures, citing David Byrne’s Rei Momo, a Ladysmith Black Mambazo compilation and Simon’s earlier Graceland as evidence of her “world music” credentials. Costumed as Vampira, with black eyeliner and a figure hugging black dress with plunging neck line, Newman enthused about “how he [Simon] continues to use the same conversational style and tone of singing…which works so well set against the vaguely African and Brazilian polyrhythms. The record is more groove oriented and less poppy than Graceland–I think I like it better, but that may be because I’m so sick of Graceland.”

She quickly rejected Rich’s critique, saying, “Oh [Alan] just doesn’t get it if it isn’t heavy metal crap.”

“Anyway,” she said, “he hates Paul Simon because everyone always used to sing ‘You Can Call Me Al’ every time he walked into home room at CAHS [Columbus Alternative High School].”

Published in: on September 22, 2011 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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