27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2000
Carly Simon's 1978 release "Boys in the Trees" showcases Carly in all of her incarnations: confessional singer/poet, inventive storyteller, torch singer and rock diva. Whatever your favorite Carly Simon song or approach, "Boys in the Trees" is guaranteed to please.
Of course the best known track here is "You Belong to Me," a midtempo scorcher co-written with Michael McDonald. Elsewhere a Carole King influence serves her well on "Back Down to Earth," we find her at the height of her romantic powers on the sweet ballad "You're the One," and "One Man Woman" shows her hanging loose and shining in a bluesy rock setting. These are, however, classic Carly moments. The real finds on "Boys in the Trees" are when she (pardon the pun) branches out. "Tranquillo" finds Simon in a lightly funky disco setting; the Carribean-flavored "De Bat (Fly in Me Face)" is easily her quirkiest tune with clever, comic lyrics (based on a true story of a bat falling off its radar and heading straight for Carly, making it all the funnier); and "Haunting," one of her strongest compositions ever, is a gorgeous example of high art; its lyrics are of the highest poetic order and the string-enhanced score falls somewhere between Classical and Gothic. But for those who love Carly best when she's armed with little more than an acoustic guitar and an earnest delivery, the starkly beautiful title track and the sentimental "For Old Times Sake" will surely do the trick...not to mention a cover of the Everly Brothers' "Devoted to You," a duet with her then-husband, James Taylor so priceless it makes you wish for at least a musical reconciliation of the pair.
Throughout all of the stylistic approaches, producer Arif Mardin works hard to add a slick pop sheen and still maintain all of Simon's musical personalities. Warm, witty, and virtually without error, "Boys in the Trees" is Carly Simon's finest album and one of rock's true classics.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2000
Like a lot of fans, my first Carly album was this wonderful recording. I was familiar with her hits to that point, but it had never occurred to me she might have an entire album's worth of memorable songs. "Boys In The Trees" made a very deep first impression on me....I played this album continuously for three solid months; these days the CD version sits prominently in my "heavy rotation" rack.
Why the abject fanaticism? Put simply, this album "connected" with me like no other that Carly has released, with the possible exception of "Anticipation." Her original lyrics are a mix of searching poetry and plain-spoken observation. And while the production is typical of soft rock for the period, Carly's music here is flawless: melodic, hook-filled and dynamic Pop that anyone could appreciate. It's also a very personal recording, free of the pretensions and affectations that tend to color most "confessional" material.
Former Village Voice critic Robert Christgau once remarked that this album is where Carly first became adept at soulful vocalizing, and I couldn't agree more. She sounds completely natural and at ease, and her voice confidently navigates these songs with grace and undeniable passion. The eleven tunes on this album run the gamut from introspective to extroverted, and Carly never fails to rise to the challenge this kind of emotional depth requires.
"You Belong To Me" is a classic single she co-wrote with the Doobie Brothers' Michael McDonald. The soulful "flavor" of this tune is echoed in "Back Down To Earth," "Devoted To You," "You're The One" and "One Man Woman." Though some of Carly's previous work could be described as funky, "Boys In The Trees" is firmly rooted in a folk-soul fusion that 'tells it like it is' and isn't afraid to shake it's (figurative) fanny.
Every cut is a standout in some way, but here are some of my favorites: "Haunting" is a riveting piece, alternately stark and lush sounding but always true to it's title. The title tune's reflections on solitude and desire are resonant, if not heart-rending. "Tranquillo (Melt My Heart)" is a successful stab at dancefloor drama, with a strangely compelling maternal lyric.
Like "No Secrets," this album showcases Carly's many gifts without ever grandstanding or "playing possum." Intensely personal without a hint of artifice, "Boys In The Trees" is the kind of album that strikes a lasting chord with listeners. If you don't consider yourself a Carly fan, this album should win you over. For those of us who appreciate her unique artistry, "Boys In The Trees" is a must-own.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2004
This is in my opinion Carly Simon at her peak. Her best album ever I think. Every song is a timeless classic and her voice is excellent and crystal clear. The musicians that played on this album are also very good adding their own classic touch with their instruments in the background and letting Carly's voice take center stage as it should be. James Taylor who at this time was still married to Carly also lends his unique and soulful voice and guitar to this classic album.
"You Belong To Me" is a soulful classic even to this day which is still being played on FM radio. Carly co-wrote this song with Doobie Brothers lead singer and keyboard player Michael McDonald.
Every song on this CD deserves honorable mention because they are all great. After this album was release in 1978, Carly Simon never achieved the same level of success in her recordings and has never recorded another album as superior as this one. She still is a great songwriter and fine singer but she is definately not what she used to be. In the 1970's I don't think there was another female singer more successful than Carly. There was Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell as well as Carole King and Phoebe Snow and Olivia Newton John but Carly was always ahead of all of them. For what is worth for Carly fans that like to remember her when she was in her prime both as a singer and songwriter this album is the best of its kind and should be included in the music collection of not only her fans but anyone in general who appreciates beautiful music that was back then in 1978, ahead of its time.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2006
In 1978, the music world was being overrun by disco. Recording ARTIST Carly Simon bucked the trend and reverted back to her folky roots for this poignant set, in the processing creating a folk-rock masterpiece that is charged with emotional power coursing through basically unadorned songs.
The set starts off with her big lead hit, "You Belong To Me", which she co-wrote with Michael McDonald, then of the Doobie Brothers. The song builds from the opening bass line (one of the best, next to the opening of "You're So Vain") into a musical surge. David Sandborn adds some great sax playing that mingles with Carly's vocals and the rhythm section is hypnotic. In a way, this song sets the pace for the album: Carly takes her time, each song building on its own strong merits, holding on to its own place, firmly.
Carly's songwriting is spectacular on "Boys In The Trees" as epitomized by the next track, the title song, which is a beautiful number about a young woman's recognition of the opposite sex and how she feels about her desires. Other songs evidence this strong songwriting, too: "Back Down To Earth" has a light country feel to it that gives this break-up song a touching musical backdrop. "De Bat (Fly In Me Face)" is a fun calypso number which shows she has a sense of humor. "In A Small Moment" is a great little moral story song (a la "The Carter Family" from "No Secrets"), telling of a young girl's lies which later flourish into out-and-out stealing and cheating. Her other masterpieces here include realization-of-love song "You're The One" and the magnificent "Haunting", a perfect art-song which showcases her fantastic vocals.
There is so much emotion in these folk-rock ballads that the really up-tempo numbers ("Tranquillo", a slight nod to the dance genre, and then-hubby James Taylor's bluesy-rock "One Man Woman") are enjoyable but do not overshadow.
The wistful "For Old Time's Sake" closes the album on a note of peacefulness, acknowledging that love gone can still be a uniting thread between two people who care so much for each other.
"Boys In The Trees" stands out as a strong testament to the artistry of a performer who is not about to sacrifice her muse in order to fit into the marketplace and who, in the process, became a beacon to those who still yearned for thoughtful, melodic songs amidst the haste and noise of the disco era. It has, therefore, stood the test of time extremely well, sounding as fresh and modern as it ever and always has.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 1998
Though "Boys in the Trees" only contains one Carly Simon smash hit ("You Belong to Me") this album is without a doubt her strongest project. From the stark and beautiful title track to the gorgeous moodiness of "Haunting," this is some of Carly's finest writing, including the Carole King-flavored "Back Down to Earth" and the sweetly romantic "You're the One." "In a Small Moment" offers another touching Carly-crafted story, and "De Bat (Fly in Me Face)" is probably her quirkiest song ever. A cover of the Everly Brothers' "Devoted to You" with then-husband James Taylor is nothing short of breathtaking, and even the dated disco notions of "Tranquillo" carry over into this generation as a fine composition with slick production. Of course, the writing and singing skills of Carly Simon (in top winning form here) and the incomparable production of Arif Mardin are an indisputable formula for success, and this 20-year-old album being remastered and re-released is only further proof that "Boys in the Trees" is a pop/rock classic.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
By the time this album came out in 1978, I was fan enough to buy it on its first day of release. You Belong To Me was already becoming a major hit, but it's only one of many wonderful pieces on this thoroughly enjoyable album. My other two favorites are the title track, which Tori Amos now plays in concert, and the orchestral Haunting, replete with backup vocals by her opera singer sister. The tempos range from the bluesy rock of James Taylor's One Man Woman to the hushed, almost nursery rhyme loll of In a Small Moment. Lyrically, we are invited into the elegant intimacy suggested by the cover photo, and the emotional world we visit is full of passion, devotion, reflection, humor, and nostalgia. Whether Carly is singing a discofied lullaby to her baby boy or an aching plea to a lover going astray, her heart is on her sleeve, and that's just where we want it to be. Arif Mardin's arrangements are often lush, but scale back to the sparse when needed, never overshadowing Carly's glorious voice. A must have even 24 years later!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2004
Ilove this CD the music, the grammy awarded album cover, the
production and most of all Carly's voice. This is a very soulful
CD "You Belong To Me' was the hit off the album. "Boys in the Trees" is one of Carly's most beautiful songs. Other standouts
are "back down to earth",Tranquillo(melt my heart)- a song written for Carly's son Ben. If you love Carly Simon you must
own this CD. In the 70's on elektra there was Carly Simon making
hits. linda Ronstadt was making a career on Asylum records a
part of elektra. Linda has a great voice-but Carly was writing
her own music and playing various instuments. Every song on this
CD is a classic
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2000
I thought I'd give Carly Simon a try in 1978.I've read great reveiws on this Album,so I bought"Boy's in the Tree's." "You belong to me" was a huge hit,co-written by Michael McDonald,and when radio stations play a Carly Simon song,this is the one they play. I'm still not tired of this record. "Melt My heart," should have been the next release.Its a great Disco song,and would have been a nice follow up single.Cissy Huston sings backup,along with James Taylor. "Devoted to you" was the second record released. A duet with JT,and a minor hit. Carly had a small tour with this album,and its one of her biggest hits. The year before Carly's,"Nobody does it better" was number 2 for weeks,and would have made it to the top if it wasn't for Debbie Boones,"You light up my Life." This was a great time in Carly Simon's life. She was having a nice comeback after two unsuccessfull Albums."Boys in the Tree's" put Carly back on top again,and remains one of her greatest albums of all times.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2000
SMOOTH, CLASSIC, JAZZY, ELEGANT, SURPRISING, ULTRA, ULTRA-COOL!!! Carly is truly 'Top Drawer' with this AMAZING CD literally crammed with gorgeous, gorgeous songs. From the stunning artwork on the cover, you just KNOW that you're in for something extraordinary upon listening to this now-classic hit CD! Everyone loves the best known hit from the CD, the sweeping 'You Belong to Me', but that is only the tip of the iceberg! 'Boys in the Trees' can bring you to tears or bring you to sheer delight because of the vivid memories it evokes & the pictures it paints in your imagination. 'Back Down to Earth' illustrates why Carly remains one of our most important & significant singer/songwriters of all time. 'Tranquillo' is such a fabulous 'disco diversion' for Carly! This song, along with the disco hit 'Why' (with Carly being backed up by disco superstar group Chic & featured on her boxed set CD), along with the title song from her 'Come Upstairs' CD, prove that Carly can disco & shake up a dance floor when the need arises!!! "One Man Woman' simply rocks us into a frenzy! Then there are the stunning trio of songs from this CD: 'You're the One', 'In a Small Moment', & 'For Old Times Sake', which you'll listen to again & again, memorizing each lyric forever. Simply beautiful! But the MAJOR HIGHLIGHT of this CD is a song that stays with you. How appropriate it is that this song should be entitled 'Haunting', for it truly is. This song captivates you, stops you dead in your tracks, & commands you to take it all in. It is one of the most breathtaking, lush, ethereal recordings of all time. How appropriate that it should be sung by one of the greatest artists of all time, Ms. Carly Simon. Please buy this CD. (We all know how it is when a friend tells us to 'trust me on this one'? Well, this is one of those times when you need to trust what so many here have recommended & buy this CD. You will be forever thankful & 'haunted' by its beauty.) WHAT AN AMAZING CD!!!!!! SIMPLY THE BEST!!!!!!!!!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Oh, those glorious seventies when we had such greast collections as this one. Carly is in top form with this 1978 release. There are so many good things about this collection. The tracks move fluently from song to song, and create an aural experience rare in many of our female vocalists today. "Boys in the Trees" is such an intimate and unusual way to discuss and portray growing pains. "You Belong to Me" is one of Carly's best, and even though the Doobies' version is soulful and moody, her desperation and the musical arrangement truly make you believe "He belongs to her." "Haunting" is a beautiful track, expertly performed and arranged. I have a special fondness for "Tranquillo (Melt My Heart)". It's disco at its melodic best. I used to play that track over and over when I first got this in cassette form back in 1978. "De Bat" is also one of my favorite novelty, humorous songs, delivered with such a sense of fun and enjoyment. Maybe that's what's happened to Carly lately; she doesn't seem to be enjoying herself as much as she did back when she did this album (CD). The melodic and performance magic is nowhere to be found on "The Bedroom Tapes." Sorry, Carly. We still love you!