Carly Simon Colin Irwin - Essay

Colin Irwin

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

For someone who's produced albums of the substantial bite of "No Secrets" and "Anticipation," Simon's capable of the most crass banalities. On half of ["Another Passenger"] she appears to be striving to recapture the sardonic wit of "You're So Vain" but falling miserably short, while the rest show all the symptoms of half-hearted fillers…. When she tries to rock she ends up in a trot, and her attempts at tenderness finish flat. On the few occasions that she captures the right mood in her performance, the songs are either frivolous or lacking in credibility. The good track is "In Times When My Head," a ballad which deals with the guilt complex of an unfaithful woman, but even that has suspicions of cliché, though it's the only time the song and performance are consistent. "Be With Me" is a moderately pretty love song…. But otherwise she tackles subjects which may be terribly meaningful to their author, but sound a little ridiculous when exposed to the world in such splendour. Like the tale of Texas millionaire Donald Swan who married a French lady called Simone and that's about the sum of the story; or "Fairweather Father," about the guy who has no interest in the baby until mother walks out and he's instantly remorseful. Heavy stuff eh?… The track that might have saved it, or at least covered it with a bit more credit, is "Darkness 'Til Dawn."… But Carly comes up with the same moody hardness she uses on all the tracks, from … the passably poppy "Libby" and "Dishonest Modesty," which is "You're So Vain" with the sex changed and the impact squandered.

Colin Irwin, in his review of "Another Passenger," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), August 7, 1976, p. 18.