Monday, October 05, 2015

30 of Carly Simon's finest

Singer-songwriter Carly Simon has been honored by the Grammys, the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes.  She's one of the great American songwriters.  Below we note 30 of her finest songs.


1) "You're So Vain" -- she took this one all the way to number one and an enduring rock classic was born.

2) "Anticipation" -- an evergreen like the Beatles' "Yesterday."  Title track to her second album.

3) "We Just Got Here"-- as Carly matured so did her appreciations.  While men her own age were still posing as newborns freshly in love for the first time, Carly was writing informed and with wisdom.  This gentle prayer closes her HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY?

4) "We're So Close" -- "We're so close" she hauntingly sings, "we don't need love at all."  The torch song that should have gone on TORCH but instead showed up on SPY.

5) "The Right Thing To Do" -- a major hit off NO SECRETS except for one thing, "You're So Vain" was even bigger.  The loping piano measure may be one of the most recognizable in music.

6) "Jesse" -- a masterpiece of songwriting and recording.  The la-las take the song to another level as does the moment when the song calms down as Carly insists, "Quick come here, I won't tell a soul, not even myself."  COME UPSTAIRS was a mixed bag but this track alone justifies the album.

7) "You Don't Feel The Same" -- HELLO BIG MAN was largely overlooked (though it did receive a rave from US magazine) which is why so few people know this song, one of her loveliest compositions.

8) "Scar" -- a singer-songwriter is supposed to do something more than write on the nose lyrics.  Carly's never shied from going deep but even for someone as willing to explore as Carly, this was something.  Haunting, mature and beautiful.  From her 2000 classic THE BEDROOM TAPES.

9) "The Stuff That Dreams Our Made Of"-- What if you have what you need and you just don't realize it?  That's what Carly, inspired by a line from THE MALTESE FALCON, explores in this song.

10) "Come Back Home" -- SPOILED GIRL is frequently -- and wrongly -- seen as Carly's big mistake album wise.  There are actually many strong songs on the album and our personal favorite is this one where she's wondering when a missing lover will return?

11) "Let The River Run" -- She swept the awards for this song composed for the film WORKING GIRL.  So great, it's even been worked into a BOB'S BURGERS episode.  It's asking for the taking . . .

12)  "Holding Me Tonight" -- when she digs into the "when you're holding me, holding me" part of the chorus, the passion becomes intense.  (From HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY?)

13) "So Many Stars" -- THE BEDROOM TAPES contained many classics including this ballad.

14) "Coming Around Again" -- Carly returned to the charts with this track, written for the film HEARTBURN.

15) "Look Me In The Eyes" -- "I beg you, when you love me, look me in the eyes."  From the album PLAYING POSSUM.

16) "You Belong To Me" -- Carly teamed with Michael McDonald to write this classic which shows up on BOYS IN THE TREES.

17) "Legend In Your Own Time" -- an article about Hank Williams was the initial spark for this classic (appears on ANTICIPATION).

18)  "All I Want Is You" -- The song sweeps in and out and soars, Roberta Flack provides some amazing backing vocals and Carly tears into the lead vocal (from COMING AROUND AGAIN).

19) "How Can You Ever Forget" -- on an album with much to offer, THIS KIND OF LOVE, this track still managed to stand out as the finest.

20) "Do The Walls Come Down?" -- "Something in my pocket that was written long ago . . ."  a memory captured moments before it dissolves (from COMING AROUND AGAIN).

21) "You're The One" -- an overlooked masterpiece from her BOYS IN THE TREES album.

22) "Haven't Got Time For The Pain" -- There are many reasons to love this classic Carly wrote with Jacob Brackman but we happen to love the bridge and when she comes in singing, "Suffering was the only thing made me feel I was alive" (from HOTCAKES).

23) "Big Dumb Guy" -- Carly's sense of humor is often overlooked but she's more than capable of sending up trends as "Floundering" and this song prove.

24) "Half Way Round The World" -- when the breakup results in someone who just wants to erase you from the planet (first appears on the album LETTERS NEVER SENT).

25) "Life Is Forever" -- the chorus is one thing, the sparse verses something else.  A complex song that seduces quickly (from HAVE YOU SEEN ME LATELY).

26) "Our Affair" -- This rocker comes to a strong boil with vivid imagery (from THE BEDROOM TAPES).

27) "Fairweather Father" -- some have it easier in a relationship than others -- especially when they don't take their role seriously or invest too much into it (from the album ANOTHER PASSENGER).

28) "Gimmie All Night" -- "I have no need of half of anything," Carly confesses. "No half time, no half a man's attention."  It's a song of longing and need and she pulls it off perfectly.

29) "I'd Rather It Was You" -- LETTERS NEVER SENT closes with this song which should have played in any romantic film -- rom-com or straight romance.

30) "Sleight of Hand" -- This was the flip side to the 45 of "Gimmie All Night."  Remember 45s?  "Here it is, my gift to you," Carly sings, "Open it with care."  Indeed.

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