The disaster of Songs from the Capeman hit Paul Simon particularly hard, so he decided to quickly record a new album, his first proper collection of songs since 1990's The Rhythm of the Saints -- his first album in ten years, really. Nevertheless, if this album has a relative, it's 1982's Hearts and Bones, since it's a deliberately low-key, insular record, especially when compared to the sweeping worldbeat explorations of Graceland and Rhythm. But where Hearts and Bones was a singer/songwriter album, no two ways about it, You're the One illustrates the influence of its predecessors, but it's not showy about it. The African and South American rhythms are as much a foundation of Simon's music as folk is, and his compositions reflect it, boasting surprisingly tricky rhythms that carry through to his melodies themselves. That, combined with Simon's determination to meet aging head-on, makes You're the One a bit of an acquired taste, especially since its compositions are never overtly accessible and melodic -- they're all tone poems, driven as much by tone and lyric as song itself. This all results in a record that may be a little too deliberately low-key and elliptical for most tastes, especially since it demands full concentration even from serious fans. But this does reward close listening, and even if it doesn't shine as brilliantly as Hearts and Bones (his most underappreciated record), it does share some similarities in that it's an unassumingly intellectual record that feels like it was made without an audience in mind. Which means it's more interesting than successful, but interesting can have its own rewards.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine