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Archive for July 9th, 2012

Review: Carly Simon, “Spoiled Girl: Expanded Edition”

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The title of Spoiled Girl had a knowingly ironic resonance for Carly Simon.  A scion of the Simon and Schuster publishing firm (her father was founder Richard L. Simon), Carly was considered by some to be a “spoiled girl.” In fact, that couldn’t have been further from the truth, despite a somewhat privileged upbringing.  Yet here she was, mockingly singing of a woman who “thinks of nothing but herself,” the kind of gal who sends her chauffeur to supply more bubbles for her bath!  1985’s Spoiled Girl announced that Simon could poke fun and definitively refute this image.  Moreover, it made clear her hallmarks of incisive observations and lyrical intelligence wouldn’t be absent from this headfirst plunge into the world of eighties dance-pop.

Carly Simon certainly had paid her dues as a singer/songwriter over the years, and played out many aspects of her life in sometimes dark, starkly confessional terms on a series of rightfully acclaimed, often heartbreaking albums.  Rare was a pop hit as melancholy as “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be.” Yet Simon showed many sides: she could also be fiercely assertive in “You’re So Vain,” wistful in “The Right Thing to Do,” jubilant in “Mockingbird” and sensual in “Anticipation.”  Yet despite being one of the most unique songwriting voices of her generation, Carly was commercially adrift by the beginning of the 1980s.  Despite fine, fascinating work, a switch from Elektra to Warner Bros. Records failed to yield much chart gold other than 1980’s Come Upstairs and its single “Jesse.”  So Simon started fresh with an Epic Records contract for Spoiled Girl.    Hot Shot Records’ impressive, expanded reissue (HSR-105, 2012) accomplishes what few such releases do: it gives a new lease on life to a maligned almost-classic that many fans – and perhaps even the artist herself – had long since written off.

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Written by Joe Marchese

July 9, 2012 at 10:20

Posted in Carly Simon, Reissues, Reviews

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