Customer Reviews: Playing Possum
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on January 16, 2001
Most people believe Carly Simon's best album is NO SECRETS. I would definitely have to say that I am in agreement with this, and even if this is to be argued, its success is certainly reflective of its artistic credibility - the album itself, along with its leadoff single "You're So Vain" both shot straight to #1. However, people's perception of her 2nd best album vary from BOYS IN THE TREES to COMING AROUND AGAIN. In my opinion however, PLAYING POSSUM wins the #2 slot!
An often overlooked, or perhaps "misunderstood" album, probably due to its erotic cover (front and back!), PLAYING POSSUM nevertheless shows Carly at her most melodic, turning out some of the most beautiful songs in her catalogue. Some reviews have labeled the album's songs as generic schmaltz, but if you're a good listener, you will hear a series of love songs that seem to follow a pattern ...
The album's opener "After The Storm" is an intense, sensual moment in Carly's music that may very well stand as her most elaborately produced song. She follows that with the powerful "Love Oout In The Street." However, Carly then provides us with a much needed breather in "Look Me In The Eyes" and the sexy "More and More." She continues with the album's most sexually overt song in the obsessive "Slave." Yet with this song, followed by the danceable "Attitude Dancing" one can see this cycle starting over again. Yet Carly, who is obviously intuitive enough to know that her audience needs occasional breaks from intense emotionality for a consistently listenable album, tones it down again with the thought-provoking "Sons Of Summer" and the gentle "Waterfall."
However, with the album's 9th track, one can see Carly branching out, stylistically, while retaining the sensuality so prevalent throughout the album - "Are You Ticklish" is perhaps Carly's neatest composition, musically: it's a 1930's-ish waltz complete with a whole horn section, including a memorable opening on clarinet that is so sexy you will find yourself blushing by the song's end. Carly finally concludes with "Playing Possum," the only song on the album that opts for autobiography instead of the not-so-subtle sexuality that's so obvious on all the other tracks.
The body of work that Carly has provided is quite impressive to say the least, but I do not think I have found an album of hers that manages to tap into the senses so well without being rendered excessive as this one. To me, that is why PLAYING POSSUM is her 2nd best.
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on May 15, 2003
Back in the 1970's I was enamored with the singer/songwriter soft rock sound prevalent of that era. When "playing Possum" was released in 1975 the single "Attitude Dancing" was receiving airplay on top-40 radio, while the melodic, gentle "Waterfall" was deserving of airplay on Pop/Adult radio. After purchasing the album and listening to every cut, this album clearly became one of my favorite albums of all time.
Anybody who appreciates artists like Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King should add this "gem" to their collection. Better yet, go out and purchase the Carly Simon box set, where a number of tunes from "Playing Possum" are included in the project.
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on December 12, 2004
...this is one of the hottest album covers of all time!

Oh yeah, the music on here is really good, too.
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on January 30, 2004
That album cover of "Playing Possum"-what can you say
and it was 1975. This CD is fantastic and i don't know
what happened-maybe it was the cover-I just can't figure
it out. Richard Perry produced it right after "No Secrets"
and "Hotcakes" Every song is greatand some of Carly Simon's
best work. I love the songs "After the Storm", "Love out in
the Street", THE TITLE CUT--every song is great, Okay i love
Carly Simon and she did her best work on Elektra--her best
albums are "No Secrets","Hotcakes", "Playing Possum",
and "Another Passenger" When she moved to Warner Bros. the
classic is "Torch" and of her Arista work the best are "Coming
Around Again" and "The Bedroom Tapes"
Although "Playing Possum" did not do well it belongs right up
there with her best CD "Boys In the Trees"
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on August 19, 2014
By far Playing Possum is a tie with Coming Around Again as my favorite Carly Simon album. Solid album. Every song is great and I never get tired of listening to it. If you don't know the album or the title song, it is about those friends of hers from the 60's and early 70's who were 'hippies' and somehow lost their youthful ideals and moved on; hence, Carly asks "Are you playing possum? keeping a low profile? Are you just playing possum for awhile?" I think the song would have been perfect in the movie 'The Big Chill' as it sums up so much of what that film had to say. Overall, the album shares with us Carly's emotions, viewpoints, and perspectives as a woman. As a guy who grew up listening to her music I appreciate her straightforward and honest lyrical style. And yes, as a guy I think she is totally hot on the cover! Rolling Stone ranks it #20 on the 100 all time best album covers! Humor aside, Carly is a fantastic songwriter/storyteller and the proof is in the pudding, as this album in timeless.
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on December 11, 2006
The first time I saw Carly Simon's "Playing Possum", I, like everyone else, was excitedly stunned. You know what I mean. That cover pic has made rock and roll history as the sexiest (in a very artsy and classy way) album cover of all time - hands down and no holds barred.

What we have, musically, with "Playing Possum" is a mature, liberated, sophisticated woman's acknowledgement of her own wants and needs. For the most part, the album deals with sex. The artist has laid out the blueprint of her desires.

Carly's singing on this recording is much more raw and gritty, quite suited for the subject matter and her songwriting continues to be fascinating both in structure and the way she chooses to present herself:

The lush, soothing arrangement of the opening cut "After The Storm" grabs the listener right from the start and sets the stage for her opus of sexuality. "Love Out In The Street" is an almost raunchy rocker about a seductress beckoning the object of her desire ("I've come to know you so well from spying on you from my bathroom window in this cheap hotel") to just put it out there. A Caribbean feel is given to the alluring "Look Me In The Eyes", a song about wanting eye contact during lovemaking. "Slave" is a daring, brazen song about feeling so tied to another as to, literally, feel like a slave to the desire for that person. Carly sings this one with real burning, longing and hunger in her voice, just as the lyrics state she feels. "Are You Ticklish?" is a delightfully playful song dressed in a lilting, somewhat big band sound. "Attitude Dancing" is a fun, pop-rock dance number which fits the album's theme because it is so sexy sounding, itself. "Waterfall" is about an old lover breaking new ground, awakening sleeping feelings.

Carly adds to her own songs two other delights: Dr. John's "More And More" which has a nice, strip-teasy feel to it and Billy Mernit's "Sons Of Summer", a blue ballad recalling the fun of yesteryear. I really love Carly's layered harmony vocals on this number.

The title track, which is really another one of Carly's greatest compostions (I would have love to have seen this one released as a single, but alas...), asks of the once socially-conscious a question that can still be put to many today: "Are you just playing possum/keeping a low profile?" The message is still so apropos.
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on May 21, 2007
Like so many others, I just love the cover of this little album and as for what's found within the music, well that's just as hot. Carly's huge placement on the charts was a little before my time but as a kid I knew her singles and though I had a few albums handed down from aunts, I never got into her; but now that I'm older and understand her whole lyrical sexual and sophisticated world I'm all in a tither. This album includes the hit "Attitude Dancing" and "More and More" but also some interesting ditties like "Look Me In The Eyes" (I beg you when you love me look me in the eyes), and a whole song about watching some sexual antics out of her dirty hotel bathroom window ("Love Out In The Street") and with guest stars like Carole King and then husband James Taylor, its a true 1975 gem and I was completely surprised at how experimental she is with the music chosen. I know it sounds strange but this girl was not the typical folksy singer I thought she was. Now I can't wait to hear the other albums I had to have as I venture into a complete Carly Simon rehash.
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on April 27, 2000
Cannot exactly explain why I like this record so much. It's my favourite Simon album. There really is something magical going on on this album. First of all Attitude Dancing is the song by Carly that I play most frequently. Don't ask me why, but there's something in that song that makes me sing along and gives me such a happy feeling. It just bubbles out of the speakers. Listen to the violins on this song!Sons of summer is so mysterious, it keeps you wondering. In Playing Possum Carly is singing about my own youth. Oh, what memories! And then there's the sleeve of course! LOOK at that! Now, lookin back, and regarding the technial production, this albur deserves to be
enhanced digitally, since the the sound quality as produced back in 1975 is not in confirmity with todays standard. Let`s hope for this improvement of the sound quality of the record, since Carly deserves it. Roger - the Netherlands
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on May 1, 1999
This album was overlooked by the public when it was released in 1975. Elektra released "Attitude Dancing" as the single, instead of the more deserving, more Carly-ish songs like, "More and More', "Love Out In the Street", or "Waterfall". Attitude was a "cute" song, but she has stated in previous interviews that she would've preferred "Slave" to be the single. "Slave" would've been an interesting choice, considering it was about feeling like a slave to the man in a relationship. Overall, it is a very good album, and of course, how can you overlook the GREAT album cover. This album deserved better record sales, and more radio airplay.
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on August 22, 2013
PP is my favorite of Carly's albums, and I am a huge fan. She was walking through Saks with Sarah (now Sally) in a back pack, and when she got home she found that Sally had been attracted to and picked up a short slip.
So the story goes, she loved the tie in and as they were debating what to shoot for the cover...
It is pretty provocative, but typical of the length of the day for women skirts, and if you think about it, somewhat the antithesis of not Playing Possum - but getting right out there.

The back story on the title song is that supposedly it is about Robert Sam Anson starting with their work on the Boston Phoenix, (..started our own newspaper gave the truth about Uncle Sam...) - The closing lines - (Or does it sneak up on you That there might be something more) seem a bit premature for 1975 in light of what the 30-year-old Anson later achieved.

The end of the first verse:
We loved to be so radical
But like a ragged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared

Has classic Simon imagery is why many of us consider it her best album.
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