Criminally underrated by critics and listeners alike on its 1983 release, 'Hearts and Bones' has since begun to receive some of the recognition this wonderful album deserves. The album is varied and eclectic, from the bittersweet ballad 'Rene And Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War', to the danceable rock of 'Cars Are Cars', and the saddened philosophical musings of songs such as 'Think Too Much (b)' and 'Train in the Distance'. Simon handles all of these styles masterfully. The album is also vocally and lyrically one of his best; as well as showing the first signs of the segue into the 'world' styles of 'Graceland' and 'Rhythm of the Saints', with the catchy tribal drums of the album's title track. In contrast to both the preceding album 'Still Crazy After All These Years', and the following release, 'Graceland', this is a very introspective, often downbeat work. The album's sadness is beautifully understated, poignant and relatable. But those expecting the jauntiness of certain other Paul Simon releases, will find it in fairly short supply here.
It is hard to imagine why such an moving and excellently performed album as 'Hearts and Bones' was met with a lukewarm response up its release; but here it has been given the modern treatment it deserves. This remastered edition sounds sharper and clearer, strengthening the album's slower, more melancholy tunes, in particular. Four extra recordings are included, of which the original acoustic demo of 'Rene and Georgette...' is the highlight, but all four additional tracks are of good quality, and will particularly interest those wanting to understand the creative process and changes of some of Simon's best songs. As for criticisms, I don't really have any. The album is fantastic, this remastered edition makes it sound better than ever before, and even the bonus tracks are all worth numerous plays.