The Best of Carly Simon
Even among her singer/songwriter peers, Carly Simon stood out for her skill at observation and analysis. Early on, she showed a talent for probing beneath domestic situations, searching for the cracks around the edges of romance. The Best of Carly Simon gleans key tracks from her early -‘70s output, emphasizing her chart singles. Simon’s emotional landscape is a complex one — expressions of deep pessimism (“That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be”) and unbridled optimism (“The Right Thing to Do”) vie for dominance in her work. Some of her most effective tunes — “We Have No Secrets” in particular — are wryly ambivalent in tone. Of course, she can get playful when she chooses, as her duet with then-husband James Taylor on “Mockingbird” shows. And, as the classic “You’re So Vain” makes plain, she can deliver a put-down with authority. Simon’s resonant alto vocals add a classy sheen to even relatively banal fare like the disco-inflected “Attitude Dancing.” Those curious about her post-1975 releases will have to look elsewhere, but if it’s early Carly you’re after, this collection delivers the high points.