Top positive review
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Runner-up to NO SECRETS!!!!
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.