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5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite
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...
Published on Aug. 12 2006 by Pieter Uys

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK, but I felt somewhat manipulated
After the wonderful African triumph of Graceland, this next album had a lot to live up to. It predictably falls short, though it is not really a bad album. It is just not even close to Graceland, though.
My main complaint, and maybe I'm too cynical is this: I feel manipulated. It's like Simon said, "OK, the African thing worked out really well for me...
Published on March 24 1999


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5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite, Aug. 12 2006
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars RHYTHMS OF THE SAINTS, Sept. 17 2003
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
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.
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 and 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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Better Than "Graceland?", April 18 2003
By 
D. Hawkins (Denver, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
Like seemingly half the world, I fell in love with "Graceland" upon its release in 1986. I wore out the cassette of that album and then heard that Paul was traveling to South America for his next project. Would it be as amazing and groundbreaking as his previous record? "The Rhythm of the Saints" didn't set the world on fire like its predecessor, but I believe it just might be more amazing than "Graceland." There are other reviewers of this album who seemingly agree with me. That assessment is not meant to take anything away from "Graceland," which was a deserved smash. It's just that I find myself listening almost exclusively to this album many years later. This album seems like a precursor to the amazing bossa nova revival of today (Bebel Gilberto and the rest of the amazing Six Degrees Records artists). I think it's the fact that Brazilian percussion moves me like nothing else on this planet. This percussion sounds even more amazing when combined with lyrical genius of Paul Simon. "Can't Run But" is probably the best hybrid of lyrics and percussion (that ascending melody!!!!!), but the album is uniformly strong with no misstep anywhere. Put on the headphones and get ready for a lifetime of listening enjoyment that has sadly already been forgotten about by most music fans. Oh well, it's their loss!
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5.0 out of 5 stars My single favorite album of all time, Nov. 6 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
I got this CD when it first came out, and it has really never left my consistent play list. No album has ever done that for me. About 5 or 6 six years ago, I started referring to this album as the very best album - any artist, any genre - that I have ever heard. My absolute favorite album of all time.

For one, this is a collection of great songs, every one. The music and words fit perfectly together. With creative melodies and rich harmonies, the brilliance of the lyrics seem to flow effortlessly out of the music - not too pushy, but also not too subtle. Plus, this is his best purely lyrical work throughout the course of any entire album, in my opinion - laced with subtle double meanings and multidimensional images. The lyrics here are at once deeply personal and universal - potent and touching - intelligent and sensual. This is the best lyrical effort from perhaps the finest lyricist in modern music.
Also, the musicianship is flawless, intricate and beautiful throughout the album. The different guitar parts intertwine with bass playing that is mind-blowing. And the DRUMS!!! It's all overpowering and subtle at the same time ï¿ melodic and rhythmic.
Finally, this album stands out as more than just a great collection of songs - it also stands as a coherent album. This is the main way I see this album rising above even the Graceland effort (which is obviously brilliant in its own right). Each song seems to flow from the previous song into the next (lyrics, music and tone) - each song sounds like a part of this album, while remaining so different from the others. The whole album evokes a mood that is indescribable and unmistakable at the same time. Even the mixing and production of the album are top notch (Listen to this disk on quality headphones). There are very subtle delay effects on the voice and guitars that add color, and while there are many different things going on musically at any given time, it never gets overwhelming. Iï¿ve never heard a ï¿warmerï¿ sounding album.
This album is brilliant through and through - it belongs on a shelf of its own, mounted somewhere above your top shelf of CDs.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pilgrims with famlies, and we are going to.. Sao Paulo?, May 9 2002
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This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
This album is no Graceland. It bears only subtle resemblance to Still Crazy... or Hearts and Bones or any of Paul's other pre-86 works. But why deny the obvious? It's not meant to be another Graceland. It's meant to explore a different musical background - in this case the tribal rhythms of South America - and blend it with modern lyrics and Simon's trademark pop sound. And if the result doesn't quite sound like authentic Brazilian music.. if it instead sounds like a regular Paul Simon album with some exotic guests playing their own instruments.. well, that's pretty much what it is. But to his credit, he comes much closer to an authentic sound than he had before.
"The Obvious Child" is the most Simon-ish song to be found here; also the most upbeat, although there are a few other wonderfully sunny moments ("The Coast," "Proof," "Born at the Right Time"). The rest of the album is a collection of cool, exotic rhythmic grooves, from the droning hypnotic "Can't Run But" (the only song I regularly skip) to the peaceful "Cool Cool River" to the enchanting "Further to Fly." That unmistakable voice is in fine form and the songs themselves are as easygoing and singable as always. The aforementioned sunny tunes remain my favorites, but I also have to mention "Spirit Voices" for its beautiful bridge in Portuguese.
Though Paul's work may not always be consistent in quality, it's always been consistent in spirit and willingness to branch out. If you prefer the modern sounds of his earlier albums, Rhythm of the Saints may not get much play in your stereo. If you enjoyed the foreign influence of Graceland and want to hear it taken a step further.. it will be well worth the cost.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Neophyte's point of view, Nov. 17 2001
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
Always very self-conscious, ironically-observant and middle-aged - that's how until this day I perceived (without much interest or enthusiasm, I must admit) Paul's music. His radio songs are smooth and cool,he had a duo with Garfunkel in the 60's and Lemonheads did a great cover of their "Ms. Robinson" (du-du-du-du), and he looks like a nice fellow. What's lurking behind all this is a massive body of work, which I only now commencing to discover through "Rhythm of the saints" I took from a friend of mine and immediately fell in love with. I can't tell whether it's his best or just an ordinary thing for Paul, since I never fully heard none of his other albums, but if it's good enough to convert a cynic like myself into a fan after only a couple of listens then it must be very-very good indeed. I won't go into a dull song-by-song description which is so commonplace and disposable; let's just say that he revealed to his audience the beauty of the multi-coloured outside world long before shameful definitions such as "latino" or "world-music" were invented by bigrecordcompanies to sell the gullible public outright horrors. I can't wait for some extra-cash to come my way to go out & buy "Graceland", which is supposed to be his African-laced (& very central)creation.
Another interesting discovery (for me) are Paul's poignant lyrics, that are like all the greatest: at once simple and complex. He also provides here a hymn for us, lazy yet ambitious : "I can't run, but I can walk much faster than this". A special thanks for that one, Paul.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than Graceland, Aug. 16 2001
By 
Brian Seiler (Tomball, TX USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
Graceland was an excellent album for Paul Simon--it did, after all, win him a best album Grammy--which makes this album that much more exceptional for surpassing his previous effort. There are a lot of people who would disagree with me, I'm sure, but ultimately I think that Simon achieves something much more remarkable with Rhythm of the Saints than with his 1986 masterpiece. With Rhytm, Simon does more than compile a collection of excellent music, but he also evokes an atmosphere and feeling not present in his earlier work. Listening to Graceland feels to me like listening to a synthesis album, while listening to Rhythm of the Saints is something like experiencing a foreign environment firsthand.
Considered objectively, without reference to Simon's earlier work, the album is still excellent. While it doesn't have quite as many of those catchy songs as you might expect (Obvious Child is the one that comes to mind, and perhaps The Coast), that's probably in keeping with the exemplary atmosphere of the album. This isn't an album that really ought to be partitioned and segmented--each song flows into the others to form a rich tapestry for the listener. All things considered, this is an exceptional piece of music, and one that probably ought to be in any listener's library, whether he be a Paul Simon fan, a devotee of multicultural music, or simply an appreciator of music itself.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not the tour de force of GRACELAND, but still a triumph, Aug. 8 2001
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
With 1986's GRACELAND, Paul Simon succeeded not only in introducing the relatively unknown music of South Africa to the American public, but also in jump-starting his then-stagnant music career. Invigorated by the success of his South African experiment, Paul decided to turn to another outside nation for some inspiration for the follow-up. Thanks to Paul's legendarily slow work ethic, it would be 4 years before he would unveil the Brazilian-inspired RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS. One might be thinking, "Oh, another new country, another new GRACELAND". But while SAINTS may be a retread on the surface, the things that make it different are very subtle, just like Paul himself. GRACELAND was mostly about world affairs, while SAINTS is more about personal relationships, especially with Paul now a bachelor again after his divorce from Carrie Fisher. Songs like "Further To Fly" and "She Moves On" all detail the emotions one feels as they leave behind a failed relationship, and they're songs just about any listener can identify with. Others like the percussive opener "The Obvious Child", "Can't Run But" and "Born At The Right Time" have the now-in-his-late-40s Paul reflecting on middle age, but with more than enough humor to make them above the usual "Where am I going in my life?" kind of songs. Those are the most obvious highlights, but the remaining songs are no slouches either. "Proof" is another upbeat ditty sure to make even the most left-footed listeners get up and move; "The Coast" is a very literate tune about a musician not unlike Paul himself travelling the world; the closing trilogy of "The Cool, Cool River", "Spirit Voices" and the title track are the most overt experiments into Brazilian rhythms. They are indeed all over the album, but it's on those last three songs where they provide the main focal point of the song both in lyrics and music. GRACELAND was a huge triumph all around for Paul Simon, commercially, personally, and artistically. For any other musician, one would want to keep this good trend as much as possible, but this is Paul Simon we're talking about here. Well-noted for taking several years to get an album finished, it would take Paul an unconscionably long decade before he came back with a tried-and-true follow-up to RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS. The cast album for his ill-fated Broadway musical THE CAPEMAN would be the only thing we heard from him during the 1990s, which was by far the quietest period creatively in Paul's career. But seeing as how that wasn't an official album, YOU'RE THE ONE wouldn't appear until the new millenium. Also, a lot like HEARTS & BONES failed back in 1983 for arriving 8 years after its predecessor, people have considered YOU'RE THE ONE a huge disappointment, which may be understood because 10 years away would be ample time to come up with some really great music. However, it looks like Paul Simon isn't quite ready for retirement yet, even as he enters his 60s. So who knows, maybe another daring experiment like RHYTHM OF THE SAINTS or GRACELAND may be in the future. Until then, we'll have both of those fantastic records to enjoy, some of the most successful combinations of American pop and world music ever made.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the obvious masterpiece, March 1 2001
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
This is one of my favorite album. It took me some months to understand and appreciate it when I bought it at its release (I was 16). To tell the truth at the beginning I was a little bit disappointed because I probably expected a Graceland follow up. In fact as Graceland (an other gorgeous album) was sunny and joyous, this is more reflective and shady and mystirious. Indeed the opening is very shocking with its percussive madness combined with the uplifting melody. "Can't run but" is a peculiar and hypnotizing etno-blues featuring great guitarist JJ Cale. "The coast" is beautiful and with its lyrics and armony seems to bring you by hand for a quiet journey. "The proof" is big fun on an upbeat melody. "Further to fly" with a sad and melanchonic mood and "She moves on" are the work's core. This last one in particular shows a very sensual melodic line and visionary lyrics. It's the best album's song to me. "Born at the right time" and "Spirit voices" are typical Simon's ballads and tell stories you'd like to listen over and over again. "The cool, cool river" is dark and scaring, but the reasuring chorus will relax you. The end is closed by another masterpiece. The enchanting title-track shows very unusual arrangements, while the words take you by Simon's personal "heart of darkness". A great album for a great musician.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best albums by any artist, ever, May 12 2000
This review is from: Rhythm of the Saints (Audio CD)
One of my top 10 favorite albums of all time, _The Rhythm of the Saints_ is absolutely Paul Simon's best work, easily outdistancing his groundbreaking work on _Graceland_. Where _Graceland_ felt in places like an experimental coupling of two traditions, _Rhythm_ gives us an artist now confident with the blending of musical influences.
What comes forth in _Rhythm_ is complete emotional evocation. Like the best classical music, the efforts here are so fully realized that you can actually *see* the music. Putting this CD into your player is inviting this music to define another world for your mind to play in.
"Further to Fly" is perhaps the best example the album has to offer of this visual transportation. To me, it has always represented what Africa (or, to a lesser extent, any place) feels like to a foreigner. The unique combination of the drums, the guitar, and Simon's own hauntingly-produced voice makes me actually see Africa from the luxurious, safe height of a plane.
Yet, what makes Simon so satisfying here is that of course the lyrics often aren't directly about what the music feels like on first listen. "Further to Fly", to continue to the example, has many different levels of interpretation, most of which have nothing really to do with actual travel.
This, then, is an album that continues to give up its secrets long after it has seduced you with its music. It will be one you long keep in your CD player just so you can return to its world with ease.
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