While the restless artisanship of Paul Simon's music has been previously anthologized more than once, this 36-track double-disc set instantly takes its place as the most comprehensive yet musically insightful overview of his solo career. Six tracks from the singer's Grammy-winning triumph Graceland
, the 1986 collection that both reinvented Simon's career and pushed world music into a well-deserved spotlight, serve as the collection's focal point. They bridge the more traditional '70s singer-songwriter fare Simon pursued after his split with partner Art Garfunkel and the often openly experimental avenues that more recently led to his rewarding 2006 collaboration with Brian Eno, Surprise
. Simon's innate artistic curiosity is further underscored by the album's creative sequencing, which eschews strict chronology for a tack that weaves the songs into a more musically and thematically cohesive tapestry. --Jerry McCulley
In celebration of Paul Simon's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress, The Essential Paul Simon brings together all of his hits and favorite tracks in the most expansive, solo career-spanning compilation issued for the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.