All of Paul Simon's solo albums ranked

Every Paul Simon solo record reviewed.

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No. 11 - HEARTS AND BONES (1983)

Hearts and Bones was originally conceived of as a Simon and Garfunkel reunion album. But at some point, Paul abandoned that idea and released it as his sixth solo album. Though not as consistently strong as his best work, it boasts some genuine highlights.

Right off the bat, we get the best guitar solo (two of them in fact) in any Paul Simon song from guitar legend Al Di Meola on “Allergies.” He follows it with an even better song – the loping title track which foreshadows the emphasis on percussive rhythm he would fully explore on his next two albums.

He closes the album with his haunting and heartfelt tribute to John Lennon – “The Late Great Johnny Ace.” As previously mentioned, he also gives us his ultra-sweet song about Rene Magritte, his wife, and his dog, which he would rework, somewhat unnecessarily, on In the Blue Light.

That’s four really good songs. And the rest is not half bad. The nice doo-wop of “Song About the Moon” and “Cars are Cars.” Even the failed songs are interesting. “When Numbers Get Serious” is terribly forced, but it’s hard to resist how clever it is. “Think Too Much,” which appears in two distinct versions, doesn’t really hold together as a song, but it is still fun to listen to. And though I cannot quite call “Train in the Distance” one of his greats, it remains a very pretty, very personal love song.

Bottom line – for a lesser songwriter, Hearts and Bones would stand as a major achievement. For Paul Simon, it’s fairly routine material.