Carly Simon Timothy Crouse - Essay

Timothy Crouse

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Carly Simon [is] a very beautiful, if very different, album….

[Carly's] style is difficult to pin down. She is a Sarah Lawrence graduate and she unabashedly writes like one. Much more than Randy Newman, who was once carelessly labelled "the king of the suburban blues," Carly writes songs dedicated to the proposition that the rich, the well-born and the college-educated often find themselves in the highest dues-paying brackets. Some of the songs on this album sound like [John] Updike or [J. D.] Salinger short stories set to music.

These are personal songs written by a woman caught in a classic post-graduation bind: she has a fierce desire for independence; at the same time, frightened of loneliness, she longs for the security of marriage. In song after song, she gives in and opts for marriage, sometimes to find that her man has lost patience and split….

The loneliness of the sophisticated city girl in Carly's songs is mitigated by a career, travel, college friends (all these things are alluded to in the lyrics)—and no doubt, by a psychotherapist or two. But what this persona lacks in intensity, she makes up for in complexity. The woman in these songs is at once passionately romantic and cynically realistic….

[What] makes this record exceptional is its subject matter. Like very few recent records, it strikes close to a lot of middle class homes.

Timothy Crouse, in his review of "Carly Simon," in Rolling Stone (by Straight Arrow Publishers, Inc. © 1971; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission). Issue 79, April 1, 1971, p. 50.