Carly Simon

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New York singer-songwriter Carly Simon, who had debuted during the heydays of the Greenwich Movement (Winkin' Blinkin' And Nod, 1964) and then converted to the pop ballad, took several years to evolve into an introspective artist. Carly Simon (Elektra, 1970), with That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be (a semi-autobiographical parable, as it dealt with lonely rich people like her, the daughter of a media magnate) and Anticipation (1971), with Anticipation, were still borderline. Adopting a rock sound, No Secrets (1972) propelled her to the top of the musical and feminist movement, and You're So Vain propelled her to the top of the charts. A mediocre vocalist, she was one of the most over-rated artists of the decade. When the hype ended, her limits became evident.

Haven't Got The Time For Pain and Charlie Foxx' Mockingbird (a duet with her husband James Taylor) are all there is to rescue from Hotcakes (1974). She tried to impersonate a disco queen in Attitude Dancing, from Playing Possum (1975), and opted for soft-rock on Another Passenger (1976). Simon's slide continued on albums that were always autobiographical, but rarely displayed the spark of genius or captured the spirit of the time: Boys in the Trees (1978), with You Belong To Me, Spy (Warner, 1979), with Vengeance, Come Upstairs (1980), with Jesse. She was one of the first singer-songwriters to rediscover the universe of easy-listening with the collection of pop covers Torch (1981).

Her hits came from cinema: Nobody Does It Better(1977) and Chic's Why (1982); while Hello Big Man (1983) and Spoiled Girl (Epic, 1985) set new artistic lows for her career.

Renewed success with film soundtracks, such as Coming Around Again (1986) and Let The River Run (1988) helped promote Coming Around Again (Arista, 1987) as a "come-back" album. But there was no come-back, just a pop singer desperately searching for a second chance.

After another album of pop covers, My Romance (1990), Simon actually did produce a come-back album of sorts, Have You Seen Me Lately (1990), a cycle of original songs devoted to philosophical/spiritual themes.

Simon also scored the soundtrack for This Is My Life (Qwest, 1992) and wrote an opera, Romulus Hunt (Angel, 1993). If Paul McCartney can write classical music, why not Carly Simon?

Letters Never Sent (Arista, 1995) is, again, adult pop without much imagination, and Film Noir (1997) was, again, a collection of pop covers.

Bedroom Tapes (Arista, 2000) was the ideal sequel to Have You Seen Me Lately, another intensely self-analysis by a middle-age woman who lived an unusual, exclusive, wealthy life.

Moonlight Serenade (Columbia, 2005) was instead a shameless sell-out to the pop ballad.

This Kind Of Love (2008) was the first collection of original material in a decade, eloquent and sincere but arranged like she was a teenage pop star in need for overcrowded orchestral and electronic backing.

Never Been Gone (2009) mainly revisited her career.

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