After proving his ability to rap (kind of) like Snoop Dogg and hang with modern day bands like Grizzly Bear, Paul Simon is ready to hit the comeback trail. His new album So Beautiful or So What, produced by Phil Ramone and hailed by the singer-songwriter as “the best work I’ve done in twenty years” is due next spring. But this brand new track, which features a sample of gospel artist Reverend J.M. Gates, has already surfaced, and just in time for the holidays, too. Thwacking percussion and acoustic guitar give the song a classic Simon feel (think “Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard), and his voice is in fine form. It’s another shout out to the birthday of Baby Jesus from a legendary Jewish songwriter, but why should Bob Dylan have all the fun?
“From early in November to the last week in December, I got money matters weighing me down.
Well the music may be merry, but it’s only temporary, I know Santa Claus is comin’ to town.
In the days I work my day job, in the nights I work my night, but it all comes down to working man’s pay.
I’m getting ready, getting ready for Christmas day.”
The second verse gets topical, mentioning the war in Iraq and eating turkey dinner “on some mountain top in Pakistan.” If you were lukewarm to Surprise, the general catchiness and good spirits in this track might just surprise you.