1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – #9: Paul Simon – Graceland (The Remixes) (2018)

1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – #9: Paul Simon – Graceland (The Remixes) (2018)

Read on as Paul Simon allows his classic album to be totally fucked over by a bunch of EDM savages. MATT KELLY is not impressed.

I wish I’d gone to see Paul Simon live. I wish I’d paid $500 for a front row centre seat. I wish that as the lights had gone up, he’d strode across the stage with a warm smile and wave to the audience, stood behind his mic, adjusted his guitar, and then unzipped his fly and urinated directly onto my face. Then he’d shout “No refunds”, give us the finger, and walk off. It would’ve left me with a better final impression of him than this record does.

 

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I’m not mad at it for being a remix album – I’m mad at for being a TERRIBLE remix album, especially one released directly under Simon’s name, implying some sort of approval.

In fact, I was mildly excited to hear the 77-year-old Simon, about to retire, was to release an utterly unexpected electronic dance music collaboration. Would it be one last bold self-reinvention from one of America’s best-loved songwriters? Or would it be UTTER FUCKING SHIT?

I’m not kidding – this is sooooooo bad. True, it starts well with the best track of the project, Joris Voorn’s warm, cute reinterpretation of ‘Homeless’. This piece recognises the vibe of the original song with its tribal percussion and soft production which fits the timbre of Simon’s voice, one not naturally suited to EDM.

But after this relatively tolerable beginning, you’re in for OVER SIXTY MINUTES of *BOLLOCKS*. First of all, the incredible basswork that built Graceland’s foundations? Gone. Fuck that, say all the producers. In fact, forget the bass, the songs themselves are gone. Groove Armada’s ‘You Can Call Me Al’ is nothing short of a disaster – genuinely hard to sit through, the track spends MINUTES on an irritating, epically pointless loop of Simon saying “I want a shot at redemption” before managing to fuck up that brilliant, simple horn hook with leaden percussion.

What’s amazing is how old-fashioned everything sounds – despite being made in 2018 it seems less sophisticated than what Underworld was doing 20 years earlier. Everything is lost in a haze of bad 90s faux-alternative EDM.

I just can’t figure out who this is for – Simon’s fanbase will doubtless run away screaming, but the production is so old-hat there’s no way it would’ve crossed over to “the kids”. If the latter was the intention, this is beyond tragic.

Don’t put yourself through it. Don’t listen as Rich Pinder beats ‘Under African Skies’ to death with a nerf-bat beat, and Thievery Corporation turns the wonderful ‘Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes’ into water torture.

Outrageously long, each track sees the listener descend Dante like to a new circle of hell – this is an offensively bad project.

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