One Trick Pony
Paul Simon had a five year gap between studio albums after 1975’s Still Crazy, an eternity in the 1970s. He dabbled in other projects such as appearing in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall and releasing a greatest hits compilation with two noteworthy new songs (‘Slip Sliding Away’ and ‘Stranded in a Limousine’). But most of his efforts went towards writing and starring in a movie, One Trick Pony, about a struggling folk-rock singer.
While the movie wasn’t a success, it spawned an accompanying album and a hit single in ‘Late in the Evening’. One Trick Pony continues the jazzy sound of Still Crazy After All These Years, but it’s noticeably low energy; apart from the opening ‘Late in the Evening’ and the live ‘Ace in the Hole’ it’s mostly slow and introspective. But while One Trick Pony is a slog to get through, it still feels more substantial than Still Crazy; repeat listens reveal mostly solid songs. ‘Late In The Evening’ has a Latin rhythm and a memorable trumpet solo, while ‘Jonah’ soars in a lovely bridge.
One Trick Pony can be a little monotonous, but it’s still a solid entry in Simon’s catalogue.