Paul Simon

Negotiations and Love Songs 1971-1986

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Paul Simon replaced his earlier compilation, Greatest Hits, Etc. (1977), with this one, allowing Hits to go out of print. Fans may well wish that he had simply put together a Greatest Hits, Etc., Vol. 2 instead, however, since this is a case of a 16-track album covering 15 years replacing a 14-track album covering five years while containing nine of the same songs. All the major hits have been retained (though "Mother and Child Reunion" and "Loves Me Like a Rock" each have been shortened by 15 seconds), along with some of Simon's odd album track choices, such as "Have a Good Time." From the post-1977 period, you have the 1980 Top Ten hit "Late in the Evening," three selections from the underrated Hearts and Bones, and two from Graceland. (The original double-LP version of Negotiations and Love Songs contained a third, the Grammy Record of the Year-winning title song, but the in-print CD and cassette versions do not.) The result is more sampler than compilation. An artist of Simon's caliber is difficult to condense, and most of the tracks here are worthy, but as a single-album career retrospective, this could have been better.

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