Simon Says is a band currently based in Gothenburg, Sweden. They started out as a project back in 1994, and had a long and turbulent history on the road from project to band. In 2002 the group more or less stabilized, and have had few line-up changes after that time. The concept album "Tardigrade" is their third release overall, and their second as a more or less stable outfit. Simon Says is one of many bands exploring a style of music referred to as symphonic rock, and their take on the genre, at least on this album, is of the classic type. Listening through the recording, it is obvious that Genesis is a major influence..
Me and Simon is as clever a piece of pop as could be asked for, meaning that it camouflages itself as not pop at all. Laleh does a convincing impression of a singer/songwriter girl – acoustic guitar, a voice dripping with sincerity (smartly pushed to the forefront in the mix), and well-thought-out lyrics. She likes to play a naïve and slightly sad outsider with immigrant roots, exaggerating this persona on the opening track where she wonders, "is this what they call big city love?" singing in a cute accent (absent from other songs) over Middle Eastern strings.
The soundtrack to Mike Nichols' The Graduate remains a key musical document of the late '60s, although truth be told, its impact was much less artistic than commercial (and, for that matter, more negative than positive). With the exception of its centerpiece track, the elegiac and oft-quoted "Mrs. Robinson" – which only appears here as a pair of fragments – the Simon & Garfunkel songs that comprise much of the record (a series of Dave Grusin instrumentals round it out) appeared on the duo's two preceding LPs; Nichols' masterstroke was to transplant those songs into his film, where they not only meshed perfectly with the story's themes of youthful rebellion and alienation (and the inner life of the central character, Dustin Hoffman's Benjamin Braddock) but also heralded a new era in movie music centered around the appropriation of past pop hits, a marketing gimmick that grew exponentially in the years to follow.
The Complete Album Collection is Paul Simon's Complete Recorded Works – minus Simon & Garfunkel, of course, along with "Slip Sliding Away" – and, as a whole, it is a mightily impressive body of work, showcasing an artist who remains restless and curious four decades into his career. The package is handsome, presenting each CD as a mini-LP, the sound is terrific, the price is affordable, and the scope is complete, so The Complete Album Collection is in every way an upgrade over the previous The Complete Studio Recordings.