In the Blue Light

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In the Blue Light
In The Blue Light Cover.jpg
Cover art by Out Of Office
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 7, 2018
Paul Simon chronology
Stranger to Stranger
In the Blue Light

In the Blue Light is the fourteenth solo studio album by American folk rock singer-songwriter Paul Simon. Produced by Paul Simon and Roy Halee, it was released on September 7, 2018, through Legacy Recordings.[1] The album consists of re-recordings of select lesser-known songs from Simon's catalog, often altering their original arrangements, harmonic structures, and lyrics. The songs were recorded with guests including the instrumental ensemble yMusic, guitarist Bill Frisell, trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and the National's Bryce Dessner. The album's title is a reference to the lyrics in the song "How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns" from the 1980 album One-Trick Pony.

Unreleased recordings[edit]

In an interview for CBC Radio, Simon confirmed that more songs were recorded during sessions for the album but ultimately left off the finished record.[2] Outtakes include a number of unspecified songs from You're the One and a re-recording of "The Sound of Silence" with music based on the arrangement of Simon's live version from recent years. It is unknown whether or not these recordings will be released.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[4]
The Guardian4/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[6]

In the Blue Light was released to favorable reviews. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 71, based on nine reviews.[3]

Dave Simpson at The Guardian gave the album four stars and said that "generally, sparser arrangements allow more space for Simon’s dazzling imagery and oblique but relevant ruminations on [several] subjects."[5] Jesse Hassenger of The A.V. Club gave the album a B- and wrote, "It would be easy to get bogged down in treating Blue Light as a compare/contrast exercise, but what’s most impressive about is the way that it sounds more or less of a piece as its own record."[8] David Browne from Rolling Stone wrote that, "At its best, In the Blue Light amounts to a dream set list for devoted PaulHeads who wish he’d do entire shows of rarities."[6] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic opined that "Everything on In the Blue Light is deliberate, gentle, and subtle, placing as much emphasis on the words and melody as the instrumentation, which isn't necessarily the case with the dense original albums."[4]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Paul Simon.

No.TitleOriginal albumLength
1."One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor"There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973)4:01
2."Love"You're the One (2000)4:10
3."Can't Run But"The Rhythm of the Saints (1990)3:29
4."How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns"One-Trick Pony (1980)4:30
5."Pigs, Sheep and Wolves"You're the One (2000)4:00
6."René and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War"Hearts and Bones (1983)4:44
7."The Teacher"You're the One (2000)3:45
8."Darling Lorraine"You're the One (2000)7:13
9."Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy"Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)3:59
10."Questions for the Angels"So Beautiful or So What (2011)4:01


Chart (2018) Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[9] 29
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[10] 21
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[11] 55
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[12] 91
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[13] 40
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[14] 16
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[15] 36
Irish Albums (IRMA)[16] 24
Scottish Albums (OCC)[17] 7
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[18] 15
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[19] 33
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[20] 14
UK Albums (OCC)[21] 10
US Billboard 200[22] 70


  1. ^ Kreps, Daniel (July 12, 2018). "Paul Simon Reworks Old Favorites on New Album 'In the Blue Light'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "Paul Simon doesn't want to be 'a Paul Simon cover band'". CBC Radio. September 5, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "In the Blue Light by Paul Simon". Metacritic. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "In the Blue Light – Paul Simon". AllMusic. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (September 7, 2018). "Paul Simon: In the Blue Light review – wistful new treatments of old gems". The Guardian. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Browne, David (September 6, 2018). "Review: Paul Simon Revisits Some Obscure Tunes on 'In the Blue Light'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Christgau, Robert (November 2, 2018). "Robert Christgau on Rich Krueger's Ambition and Paul Simon's Farewell". Vice. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  8. ^ Hassenger, Jesse (September 5, 2018). "The battle for baby-boomer relevance pits Paul against Paul". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  9. ^ " – Paul Simon – In the Blue Light" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  10. ^ " – Paul Simon – In the Blue Light" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  11. ^ " – Paul Simon – In the Blue Light" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  12. ^ "Paul Simon Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
  13. ^ "Czech Albums – Top 100". ČNS IFPI. Note: On the chart page, select 201841 on the field besides the word "Zobrazit", and then click over the word to retrieve the correct chart data. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  14. ^ " – Paul Simon – In the Blue Light" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  15. ^ " – Paul Simon – In the Blue Light" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  16. ^ "Irish Albums Chart: 14 September 2018". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  17. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  18. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 37: del 7.9.2018 al 13.9.2018" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  19. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved September 15, 2018. Click on "Veckans albumlista".
  20. ^ " – Paul Simon – In the Blue Light". Hung Medien. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  21. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  22. ^ "Paul Simon Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved September 18, 2018.

External links[edit]