In late February, Paul Simon announced a sprawling US tour and a forthcoming record titled Stranger to Stranger. Today the singer-songwriter gave us a taste of the album and detailed its subject matter.
“It’s about making music that sounds old and new at the same time; music with a sense of mystery,” he said in a press release. “Sound is the theme of this album as much as it’s about the subjects of the individual songs. If people get that, I’ll be pleased. The right song at the right time can live for generations. A beautiful sound, well that’s forever.”
Simon accompanied the note with the new song “Wristband.” (Coincidentally, fellow 74-year-old Bob Dylan also revealed the first song from his upcoming album today.) The new track is characteristically playful, rife with Simon’s signature Kodachrome buoyancy and then contemporized with modern electronics. “Wristband” certainly sounds both old and new, and its topic—the concert wristband—fits that requirement as well.
“You’ve got to have a wristband, my man / If you don’t have a wristband, my man / you don’t get through the door.”
It’s unclear whether Simon is preaching the politics of inclusion or just enjoying a fun ode to concert security. Either way, the Garfunkel crony asserts his own place in the venue hierarchy:
“I don’t need a wristband / My axe is on the bandstand / And my band is on the floor.”
Stranger to Stranger sees Simon unite with longtime collaborator Roy Halee, who worked on Simon’s magnum opus Graceland, as well as Simon & Garfunkel classics like Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water. The record, which will be released as both an 11-track standard edition and a 16-track deluxe edition, arrives June 3.
What do you think of the new track? Let us know in the comments.
IMAGE: Matthew Straubmuller