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Tuesday October 10, 2000

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Paul Simon - You're The One

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By Eric Swedlund

Grade: B-

The opening lines of You're The One provide a wonderful description of Paul Simon's 30-plus years as a singer-songwriter.

"Somewhere in a burst of glory/Sound becomes a song/I'm bound to tell a story/That's where I belong," he sings to introduce his first studio album since 1990's Rhythm of the Saints.

Like that album and his 1986 masterpiece Graceland, Simon's songs rest on a complex bed of rhythm and percussion.

However, the 11 tracks on You're The One are less accessible than those on Graceland. There will be no video co-starring Chevy Chase in the year 2000.

Running throughout the album is a sense of mysticism, as Simon's lyrics weave in and out of narratives and quirky observations.

On "Seľorita With A Necklace Of Tears," Simon announces "I have a wisdom tooth inside my crowded face." Cryptic yet confident, Simon induces the mellow island sounds with an attitude that comes from age.

Even at 60, Simon's playful side is not in doubt. On "Old," he sings "Summer leaves and my birthday's here/And all my friends stand up and cheer/And say man you're old."

Perhaps an indication that Simon can still smoke a lot of weed, "Pigs, Sheep and Wolves" leans toward the absurd to tell a farmyard tale of murder and intrigue that is more spoken than sung.

Although not Simon's best work, You're The One is engaging, musically and lyrically. The music is rich, and Simon proves he can still sing a beautiful story.