Carly Simon 1945–
Simon is best known for writing lyrics that honestly and realistically evaluate life's predicaments. In her first popular success, "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," Simon views marriage as a complex social institution which inhibits individuality yet protects people from loneliness. Simon deals with the bitter aspects of personal relationships in many of her songs, including "You're So Vain." However, the emotions and situations in her best lyrics, and her treatment of the problems of the upper-middle-class woman, are understood by all types of listeners.
Carly Simon, her debut album, was both a critical and commercial success. Her later records, however, have received mixed reviews. Some critics believe that Simon has lost interest in writing about social hypocrisy and putting forth a universal message since her marriage to songwriter James Taylor. Although she collaborates on some of her lyrics, most often with Jacob Brackman, critics attribute Simon's popularity to her ability to sensitively and confidently analyze complicated human situations.