187 of 192 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2005
Several collections already existed that encompass Carly's solo career, including the three-disc box set CLOUDS IN MY COFFEE (1995), and the double-disc, forty-track ANTHOLOGY (2002). For the amount of space available on both of them, the track selections are flawed. REFLECTIONS, meanwhile, truly represents the cream of Carly's catalog and is an extremely enjoyable listening experience from start to finish.
The first nine tracks are comprised of Carly's '70s Elektra hits like "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be, "Anticipation," "You're So Vain," and "You Belong To Me." I have my favorite album tracks from this period like "Tranquilo" and "We're So Close," but the recordings included here were the hits, so I can't find fault with the selection. Track 10, "Jesse," represents her early '80s tenure at Warner Brothers - a logical choice as it was her only top 20 hit there (I also liked her minor reggae-flavored hit "Why" from this period).
In 1987 - after an unsuccessful album SPOILED GIRL for Columbia - Carly moved to Arista and experienced a career resurgence, much like that experienced by other middle-aged Arista arrivals Dionne Warwick and Aretha Franklin. Her Arista highlights make up the final 10 tracks.
The first Arista album COMING AROUND AGAIN was one of Carly's strongest ever and it is well-represented here by its four singles, including the reflective title track and the enchanting "Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of." During her Arista years, Carly also got involved in film scoring - quite successfully - including her enclosed Oscar winner "Let The River Run" from WORKING GIRL and the theme for LOVE OF MY LIFE.
The 1994 biographical album LETTERS NEVER SENT resulted in some of her most intimate work and is well represented here by touching tributes to her mom ("Like A River") and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis ("Touched By The Sun"). This collection then concludes with "Amity," an acoustic duet with daughter Sally Taylor that was included in the 1999 film ANYWHERE BUT HERE.
While one disc cannot due full justice to Carly, REFLECTIONS manages to touch on all significant phases of her career. For those who don't own any of her music, it's a great first purchase.
118 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2004
I have been a Carly Simon fan for more than thirty years. In the twists and turns of a woman's life from pre-pubescence to middle age, Carly has always been here with me.
This CD is amazing - because of the longevity of my "relationship" with Carly's artistry, I have her earlier works in old, well worn vinyl albums and hearing these remastered versions of her earliest songs just makes my heart (and voice, joining her buttery smooth tones) sing.
This is even more surprising to me, perhaps to you as well.
Her more recent offerings in this volume are exceptionally stirring. The first time I listened to "Amity" - a duet with daughter, Sally Taylor, brought me to tears.
Both the lyrics and the blending of Mother and Daughter singing leave me speechless, wordless and emotion filled.
"Like a River" about her Mother following her Mother's Death is very touching - and truth filled - and speaks to those who have lost their parents and find themselves stepping into the adult orphan stage.
In another "flowing themed" song - "Let the River Run", which I first enjoyed during "Working Girl" remains incredible on many levels. I hear the lyric "The New Jerusalem" in a completely different light post September 11.
Listening to this volume is like taking a musical journey through not only my life, but through universal adventures, trials, growth - that we all experience.
Our host, with her rich, resonant tones, stirring lyrics, and open invitation to experience life alongside her, will remain a treasure to all who experience her through this CD.
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
For those of us who grew up with her, Carly Simon suddenly appeared on the music stage like a performer literally shot out of a cannon, so meteoric was her rise! She managed to ably walk the tight-rope between folk and pop music in the early 1970s and gradually emerged from the shadow to become a pop singer of verve and moment, earning herself a place in the pantheon of very successful singers like Joni Mitchell, Judy Collins, and a number of others like Carol King who were on the pop charts and in the folk clubs earlier in their career. This album is a wonderful summary of the best of her efforts over the tw3enty year span of her popular career. From her breakthrough hits like -That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be- and -Anticipation- to later smash singles like -Loving You Is the Right Thing To Do- and -You're So Vain- (rumored to be written about everyone from James Taylor to Mick Jagger, but more likely a joke aimed at actor Warren Beatty) is all here.
This collection successfully gathers the best of those efforts as well as the follow-on efforts that reprise her second stage efforts with another collection of more adult-centered pop hits. Even though I usually prefer to sample an artist in context in their early albums, even I have to admit this is a great comprehensive overview of the collective efforts from Carly Simon. There are a lot of good songs here, like the terrific -Legend In Your Own Time- about then beau James Taylor, and the rocking -Mockingbird, a duet done with Taylor. Indeed, there are other interesting, provocative, and beautiful selections here, including my own personal favorite, "I Haven't Got Time For The Pain".
This is a great collection from a fascinating artist who made a terrific comeback album called -Coming Around Again-, with hits such as the title cut, as well as superb numbers like -The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of- to regain her audience and popularity, which she used to great advantage in the years since, with a number of hits included here from -Better Not Tell Her- to -All I Want Is You-, and from -It Happens Every Day- to -Like A River-. It is one of her best and most representative greatest hits albums yet, and it gives us an interesting vantage point with which to understand her better. This is a terrific greatest hits album by an artist who is often under-appreciated. This is one I heartily recommend. Enjoy!
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2005
For those of you who have read my columns in the past, it's probably obvious to you that music is my passion. Whether it is pop, r&b, jazz, alternative, country, disco, trance or dance, the bottom line is, it's all music.
I've never met anyone who hasn't liked music. We all have our favorite genre. Mine happens to be vocals. Well, to be perfectly absolute, it's vocals with intelligent lyrics.
When I was growing up as a young teen in the early 70's, music took a turn from the psychedelic love revolution of the late 1960's and turned much more introspective to the singer/songwriters of the era. Carole King, James Taylor, Harry Chapin, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, etc, etc. In my opinion, and in the opinion of millions of others, Carly Simon fits into that elite group perfectly.
It's funny, when a particular song or a singer makes a strong impression, you always remember either where you were, whom you were with, or what the situation was. For me, I associate music with all of the above and more. I could even give you the date and the weather report that day!
The day I discovered Carly Simon was June 11, 1971. It was a gorgeous spring day. I was in the back seat of my sister's red mustang while her best friend at the time rode shotgun. We were headed to Crane Beach in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and this voice and song came on the radio. That voice, those lyrics! My friends from college they're all married now. They have their houses and their lawns. They have their silent noons, tearful nights, angry dawns. It was pure poetry with a wildly unique alto voice. Then the crescendo, Well you say it's time we moved in together, raised a family of our own you and me, well That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be...I was hooked. I remember my sister and her friend commenting on how much they loved the song. They were twenty years old and smack dab in the midst of their college years. My age group, let alone gender, was probably not aware enough to sense the yearning of a young woman rebelling against what's expected of them at that point in their lives. But somehow I got it. It was 1971, and Gloria Steinem was all over the news. This was a voice of a new generation. And Carly's was not just a voice in lyric, her voice spoke to me as few others have in my lifetime. But when there's a unique voice, you always know who it is. Nobody has to let you know when Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Johnny Mathis or even Cher is being played. Like them or not, they are originals. Can you tell when Ashanti, Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears is being played? I can, but it's my business to know.
Most people think that's where Carly's life began, but it's not. She already had an extraordinary life. She was born June 25, 1945 just weeks before the end of World War II. Her father was famed publisher Richard Simon of Simon & Schuster, and little miss Carly and her two older sisters grew up in a very privileged world. Just because there's money doesn't mean there's not dysfunction. It's been said that Carly was very shy and felt very isolated. Remember the opening lines of "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be?" My father sits at night with no lights on, his cigarette glows in the dark, The living room is still, I walk by, no remark...If you don't recall, listen to the song again. It may hold different meaning for you now after all these years. One of the many wonderful things about Carly's lyrics is that 99 percent, perhaps 100 percent of the time, the songs are autobiographical. She has said, "Songwriting is cathartic, it's part of my therapy."
When Carly was 18, she joined her older sister Lucy and they became known on the coffee house set as The Simon Sisters. Singing the songs of the day such as Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary. The Simon Sisters eventually would be the opening act of some rising stand-up comedians, most notably, Woody Allen. They even made it on to some local NY variety shows at the time. People who recall them knew that there was something special about these girls, especially the younger, shy Carly. They continued to play the small club circuit, all the while Carly began to write songs of her own.
While Carly was in college, the managers who had handled Bob Dylan signed her. They even dubbed her, "The Female Dylan." They had her record with Bob's touring group who would eventually be known as The Band. Carly was performing other singer's material, but she was anxious to start performing her own songs and have her own identity.
In 1970, Elektra Records caught wind of this girl and decided to sign her. Carly said, "They weren't sure I had the right voice and so they had to be talked into recording me, not just lending my songs to established singers." The first album, Carly Simon, released in March 1971 rose to an impressive #30 on the Billboard album charts on the strength of the single "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," which became a Top 10 single and was nominated for a couple of Grammy Awards. Simon didn't go home empty-handed. The night of the Grammy's, Carly was honored with The Best New Artist Of The Year Grammy and was officially on her way to stardom. That same year, her second album Anticipation was released and also landed the artist at #30 and two hit singles, "Legend In Your Own Time" and the title cut which younger people probably associate with a Heinz Ketchup commercial! An interesting footnote; Rolling Stone named the album Anticipation as "One of the best records of the year."
Then, November 1972 came and the single that's most associated with Carly Simon was released. "You're So Vain" was the first single from Carly's album No Secrets, which topped the album charts for over a month, as did the single. Carly was not just a star anymore, she entered superstar territory. There have been so many rumors about the song and whom it's about. Carly simply says, "Those who think they know, don't." I suppose this wipes out the famous Warren Beatty theory, although the two were romantically linked previous to the release. Hmmm. One rumor that's true and Carly has confirmed, it was Mick Jagger who sang back-up vocals on the song. Carly said, "It just so happened he showed up at the recording session and decided to add his take on it." Rumor has it that the two were also "very close." Another hmmm.
After "Vain," Simon was a one-woman-hit-machine releasing hit songs and albums one after another. It was during this time that the song "The Right Thing To Do" was released and was supposedly about someone in particular. That particular person turned out to be James Taylor. She had gone to see Taylor appear at Carnegie Hall. Following the performance, Carly went backstage to say hi during the intermission, and thus we have the first date of Carly Simon and James Taylor. They married months later and Simon continued one hit after another. The first single to be released after the marriage was the duet "Mockingbird" between the two lovebirds. In early 1974, the song became a massive hit and landed in the Top 5 and the album from which it was spawned, Hotcakes, reached #3 and stayed on the charts for months. The next single is also a Simon staple; "Haven't Got Time For The Pain," which people say reflected her already rocky marriage to Taylor. As I said, Simon's songs are 99, if not 100, percent autobiographical, and every album and song that followed during the rest of the decade seemed to mirror the celebrity couple.
At the height of her hit making in the mid-seventies, Carly was asked by several movie studios to star in films. The still shy girl turned down the opportunities and instead decided to focus on performing music for films. "Nobody Does It Better" from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me went through the roof and became one of the best-selling songs from the Bond movies, as well as one of Carly's biggest hits, reaching #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the AC charts. Following "Nobody Does It Better" Simon decided to slow down to become a mom. Her first daughter Sally Taylor was born in 1974. She went back to work and followed up with several more hits including "You Belong To Me" and "Jesse." This began the 80's and Carly was thriving in motherhood with her second child Ben. To the outside world, Carly Simon had it all. But she didn't. She was constantly fighting a battle she couldn't win, and that was her husband's dependency on drugs. After a decade, Carly walked away from the marriage and devoted herself to her children and to occasional albums. She still had offers from the movie executives to strut her stuff on the screen, but decided to stay focused on the music, except for a couple of cameos. And it paid off. In 1986, she wrote the song "Coming Around Again" for the Mike Nichols film Heartburn starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson. At the same time, her record label was in a quandary over what to do with the now 40 year-old singer/songwriter. After all, to the world of pop music, 40 is over the hill. Clive Davis, head of Arista Records didn't think so and signed Carly. The man with the golden ear knew exactly what to do with her, as he had with Barry Manilow, Melissa Manchester, Whitney Houston and her cousin Dionne Warwick, to name just four. Carly's 1987 album and first single, appropriately named Coming Around Again, was a financial and critical success. Carly didn't just "come around again," she let people know that she never really left. If it was possible, her writing and singing were better than ever. The following year she scored and wrote the song "Let The River Run" for the film Working Girl, and Carly was now the proud recipient of the 1989 Academy Award for Best Song.
In the 90's, Carly said she no longer felt the need to write "hit" songs, but just to write songs that meant something to her and hoped her fans liked it. The albums are absolutely astounding, starting with 1990's My Romance, followed by Have You Seen Me Lately? The soundtrack to This Is My Life, Carly Simon's Romulus Hunt: A Family Opera, Letters Never Sent, Clouds In My Coffee 1965-1995, Film Noir, The Bedroom Tapes, an album that dealt with her recovery from breast cancer in 1999, Christmas Is Almost Here (Her first holiday album), Anthology, Piglet's Big Movie, and the just released Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits. I'm happy to say that this latest "Hits" package isn't just the usual fare, but has some of the most gorgeous songs ever written and performed by Carly, including "Like A River," Touched By The Sun" and a song co-written and performed with her daughter Sally, "Amity." If you are a Carly Simon fan, you will love this new set. If you are a bit younger and want to hear a singer/songwriter who truly deserves the term "artist," I implore you to pick up this CD.
Carly songs are timeless. Even Janet Jackson sampled her song and vocal "You're So Vain" a couple of years back. How many of today's recording "star's" songs do you think you'll be humming in thirty years. Hell, "Oops, I Did It Again!" is only two years old and I haven't heard it since.
The CD, Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits, debuted at Number 22 on the Billboard 200. It was Carly's best showing in 26 years, since her stunning opus Boys In The Trees hit the Top 20 in the summer of `78
Carly, thanks for all the songs and for the new disc Reflections. I look forward to the next thirty years with much "Anticipation."
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
For nearly four decades, Carly Simon has been producing top-notch high quality songs. This `remastered' collection contains all of her best and its hard to argue about which succeeds better than others. From the achingly lamentable, "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" to the emotional anthem, "Let The River Run", Carly pulls no punches with her strong voice or slick arrangements. Few female singers have such a strong band or percussion backing them, which has proven to be a Carly Simon trademark. You may have had an overdose of some songs, "You're So Vain" or "Nobody Does It Better", but they are intensely catchy at the very least. There are two distinctly different duets here. James Taylor playfully counters with a `call/response' technique on "Mockingbird, but the real surprise is the country flavored "Amity" with Sally Taylor. It's all in the family and it all sounds fantastic!
One great part about the liner notes is you actually finally find out who "You're So Vain" is about and that this person sings back-up on this song without credits!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2005
Take the album you played a million times and
find a way to clean it up. Make the sound crisper, clearer and
That is what the remastering of this cd has done.
This is a wonderful chronicle of Carly's finest, most memorable tunes.
A must have for admirers of singer-songwriters, whose work
can and will stand the test of time and fads and fashions.
Reflections caches the evocative images of Carly Simon's singular talent and
that is one mirror image I can happily look and listen to for
a long time to come.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2004
This is the first Carly Simon single CD collection of its kind - spanning 30 years of singles. The term, "Greatest Hits" is somewhat misleading as it includes several singles that didn't make the top 40 charts AND omits a few that did, (i.e. Attitude Dancing - 1975, It Keeps You Runnin - 1976, , Devoted to You - 1978). There are several albums that do not have one cut represented on this collection, and that is disappointing. Still, it is a solid collection of songs from 1971 until 1999, many remastered for the first time, which is a great treat.
Simon is probably one of the most under appreciated singer songwriters of the 1970s. Perhaps her lack of touring and family priorities got in the way of bigger stardom and record sales, but her musical craftmanship cannot be denied. While many of her melodies were often less "hook" laden than her contemporaries, her lyrics were always accessible, unique but universal.
The collection, arranged in chronilogical order starts with the slow boil hit, "That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be." The song, which many fans never really understood, is Simon at her best. While longtime collaborator Jacob Brackman wrote the lyrics, it captures Carly's family angst as if she wrote the words herself. A cynical view of marriage and family values in the early 70's, the song nevertheless was included in many marriage ceremonies after its 1971 release. Go figure?
Simon's hits like "Anticipation" and "You're So Vain", the later which made her a superstar, are also included as is "The Right Thing To Do", which she has just re-recorded as a duet with Megan Mullaly on the new Will and Grace Soundtrack coming out this fall. And speaking of duets, her 1974 top 5 hit, "Mockingbird" with James Taylor is featured along with "Haven't Got Time for the Pain", both from her "Hotcakes" album.
Simon's first foray into movie music, "Nobody Does It Better" was one of the most successful movie singles ever recorded, and certainly the most popular Carly hit that she didn't write herself. The songwriting team of Marvin Hamlisch and Carole Bayer Sager wrote it for the James Bond movie, "The Spy Who Loved Me" and brought it to her for the 1977 release.
"You Belong to Me" from 1978 was a "over the phone" collaboration with Mike McDonald from the Doobie Brothers and a funky uptempo hit in the late part of the decade. 1980 brought the year off to a solid start with the fluke hit, "Jesse" from the "Come Upstairs" album. ALthough the song never broke the top ten, the country flavored ballad became very popular and eventually became a million selling single.
Carly continued to record in the early and mid eighties with the standard collection, "Torch", the electic "Hello Big Man" and the techo-pop of "Spoiled Girl" but all three albums failed to capture much attention. Then Carly struck success with the single "Coming Around Again" from the Heartburn soundtrack and the platinum selling album of the same name. The title song as well as three other tunes are included in this compilation. She closed the 80's with an Oscar for the gospel tinged, "Let the River Run" from the film "Working Girl". The moderate hit also won Carly a Grammy and Golden Globe.
Carly started the nineties with "Have You Seen Me Lately" and the hit single, "Better Not Tell Her," a slightly naughty "other woman" story, complete with spanish guitars. One of her most beautiful songs ever written, "Love of My Life", written for the soundtrack "This Is My Life" is also included as well as two of Carly's favorites from the "Letters Never Sent" album, "Like A River", and "Touched By the Sun", songs written respectively for her mother, Andrea Simon, and good friend, Jackie Onassis. The closing song, a bonus track from the film, "Anywhere But Here" called "Amity" is a duet recorded with Carly's daughter, Sally Taylor. Although their voices are quite different, it is a lovely melding of vocals with a unique production by Don Was.
Several albums of material including "Playing Possum", "Hello Big Man", "Spoiled Girl" and the recent "The Bedroom Tapes" are not represented here, but can be found on her two-cd collection "Anthology". Nevertheless, this is quite a comprehensive collection by one of the most talented singer songwriters of the last three decades.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I was not around at the height of Carly Simon's career. I am certainly old enough to have been around, but I lived outside the US for a long time, in an area where salsa and the cumbia were more popular than Ms. Simon. Now I get to listen to such fabulous artists as singers-songwriters Carly and Carol King retrospectively - and they sound even better now, than when I caught bits of their sound in the 1970s.
"Reflections" is a recording that includes 20 songs which span 30 years of the artist's career. She has a beautiful clear voice, and a natural style, which more than capably express a wide array of emotions. Her music, and much of it is her own, has been influenced by traditional American folk music, jazz, the blues and rock 'n roll. Carly Simon has been placed in the "confessional" genre of vocalists and songwriters. I don't pay attention to that kind of labeling. I feel like her songs are frank, honest and often very moving - from the heart. She is also quite sexy at times, and it is difficult not to move to her beat.
One of my favorite cuts, "Like A River" was written for her mother, Andrea Simon, right after her death. Carly once said in an interview, "My yearning to communicate with her was so strong, it seemed to me that she could really hear me." Ms. Simon's voice, her lyrics, and signature piano make an extremely moving elegy to her mom. "Amity" a duet with daughter Sally Taylor is another captivating and emotional piece. "Nobody Does It Better," sung for the 1977 James Bond hit "The Spy Who Loved Me" is a fabulous, upbeat love song, and a real ego booster for the man in one's life. It topped the AC charts for several weeks in 1977. "You're So Vain," a number which has always aroused much speculation as to who the subject is, is included, as is "Mocking Bird" - another of my great favorites. Carly is accompanied here by her then husband, James Taylor, and their duet is absolutely phenomenal! "Let The River Run" from the soundtrack of "Working Girl" won her a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. "You Belong to Me" from 1978 is yet another winner - and one many women will identify with. And "Touched By the Sun" is a touching and inspirational tribute to good friend, Jackie Onassis
"Reflections" is a superb CD - a real jewel - very romantic, emotional, and beautifully interpreted. "Love of my Life" a song that really reaches me down deep, is an excellent representation of the riches that are to be found in this collection. I cannot recommend this CD highly enough.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2005
When you've had a career as long and illustrious as that of Carly Simon's, compiling all the memorable songs onto a single disc can be a chore, and needless to say, there are some missing classics, but still... From her singer-songwriter greats such as "That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be" and "Legend In Your Own Time" to blockbusters such as "You're So Vain", "Nobody Does It Better" and "Jesse" to her string of comeback hits in the late 80's like "Coming Around Again" and "Give Me All Night" to the heartbreaking, little-heard 90's track "Like A River", this is as perfect a single-disc collection of Carly Simon can possibly get.
Carly is a classy woman who has overcome so many obstacles in her career, from stagefright to a highly publicized divorce to breast cancer, Carly is the very definition of the word survivor, and everytime you think you've heard the last of her, she comes back even stronger.
Many of Carly's albums aren't widely available in stores, usually I see this, 1987's Coming Around Again and this years successful Moonlight Serenade, so this is a great way to get the bulk of Carly's memorable hits on one package. If you're a tried and true fan, I'd recommend Anthology over this, but for the casual listener, this is the be-all end-all collection to own from Carly.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2004
Finally, an updated single disk greatest hits from one of the premier singer/songwriters of the past 30 years. If you only need one compilation of Carly's music, this is the one to get. The major hits from 70's are here, along with the comeback hits from "Coming Around Again". Choice cuts from her stellar 90's albums "Have You Seen Me Lately" & "Letters Never Sent" round out the set, along with movie favs "Let The River Run" and "Love Of My Life". The only glaring admission - nothing from the recent "Bedroom Tapes" has been included. "Scar" would have been a welcome addition to this collection. But that's a minor quibble
to say the least. All you youngsters who love Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Alanis Morrisette, etc. - pick up a copy of this CD and listen to where it all started.