Paul Simon was something of a surprise when it was released, and remains perhaps his best album, as it showed a level of musical diversity that probably few people thought him capable of. Musical diversity was not one of the hallmarks of the Simon & Garfunkel sound, and indeed there are none of the huge, stately, epic ballads here that dominated Bridge Over Troubled Water, or any Garfunkel-like vocal theatrics. Paul knew what kind of songs he needed to write for himself, and he wrote those songs. And they're quite interesting songs, too. It's a very loose, lively, intimate, and occasionally funny album. We see Simon goofing up and letting it loose on funny, rambling pieces like Duncan and Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard, while making quite calculated statements on others, such as Everything Put Together Falls Apart. There are also songs here that namecheck reggae (Mother and Child Reunion), blues (Paranoia Blues), and other forms of music than the folk that Simon was pre-dominatenly known for at the time. Quite an interesting record.