Paul Simon followed up the classic Graceland, his fusion of African and Western pop music with this stunning album of great songs with a South American and more particularly Brazilian flavour. This reissue includes three previously unreleased racks.
The Obvious Child is my favorite, a powerful melodic song with great drums and guitars and a wistful, nostalgic feel. Another favorite is The Coast, a story about a family of musicians taking shelter in a church; this song really impresses with its flowing melody, polyrhythmic drum patterns and moving lyrics.
Proof is another charming pop song, particularly noted for its evocative backing vocals and gentle, lilting rhythm whilst Further To Fly and She Moves On are more subdued, melancholy numbers with bubbling and insistent rhythmic patterns.
The mood lifts with the uptempo and buoyant Born At The Right Time, once again a lyrical and musical masterpiece and filled with catchy hooks. The guitar and atmospheric backing voices of Spirit Voices are beyond compare whilst the title track is a meandering piece with innovative instrumental flourishes.
What makes these songs particularly moving is that Simon tells the stories of ordinary people and that his perceptive, poetic lyrics are carried so well on the exotic instrumentation. Of course, the beautiful tunes have a lot to do with that. Rhythm Of The Saints may not be as immediately appealing as Graceland and may not offer quite as many classics, but it remains a major achievement, a brilliant marriage of Brazilian and Western popular musical styles.