For most people Paul Simon is still the same Paul Simon that wrote "Bridge over Troubled Water", "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson" and other timeless classics that his old mate Art Garfunkel would perform with his voice of an angel. Still there are some other people who would know that Simon&Garfunkel ceased to be an exceptional musical duo more than 35 years back only to have several reunition concerts but that Simon never had an angelic singer for his songs anymore. That didn`t stop good ol` Paul from hitting it on the spot with his solo album "Graceland" in the 1980s. After that he`s remained in the shade most of the time, releasing world music or no music at all most of the time, and here: "Surprise!" he`s returned with an album of bran new songs and this album is wisely called "Surprise!!!" So, there may be no exclamation marks at the end of the title but who cares about such unsignificant details anyway? The album kicks of "How Can You Live in the Northeast" which has verses that almost make one cry (well, maybe I`m overdramatizing the effect, but as if you would know) and a rather optimistic chorus that could have also been found on a minor track on "Graceland". "Everything about it is a love song" is a song with heavy beats and close to no melody, reminding me of some songs on Sting`s "Brand new day". "Outrageous" is much more energetic, performed in a bit rapping manner and a chorus asking "Who`s gonna love you when your looks have gone?" On "Sure Don`t Feel like prayers" I have nothing to say. "Wartime prayers" is a war ballad. "Beautiful" is simple and beautiful. I believe that "I don`t believe" doesn`t sound much like Paul Simon. Meanwhile "Another Galaxy" would have been a typical song for a Paul Simon from another galaxy. "Once upon a time there was an ocean" is one more "Graceland" kind of song reminding of that hit he had together with that comic fellow. Maybe it has to do with Paul`s very limited singing voice that restrains him to singing about two or three different songs most of his life. On "Father and daughter" I think that I better like Paul when he performs those songs from Graceland, there`s nothing I dislike about that song, but there ain`t much to like about it either. Last but not least "That`s Me" is a song about Paul Simon that sounds like a real Paul Simon song, which it is, of course.