In the Blue Light (Sony) finds Simon, who says he’ll no longer be writing new music, reworking a collection of his classic material. In addition to being backed by the likes of Bill Frissell and Wynton Marsalis, he relies on The National’s Bryce Dessner to help arrange new spins of 10 lesser-known works from his canon. Such “reworked classics” could fall victim to a Rod Stewart brand of maudlin, but Simon opts for weird, tense strings in “Can’t Run But,” and a heartbreaking delivery in “Darling Lorraine.” Even if some tracks border on sappy, the new album is an interesting appendix to a rich career.
Sir Paul’s 16-track, hour-long Egypt Station, meanwhile, is a monster of an album that features his most diverse and exciting work in years. It’s a bubbling sonic blast that beats most of his own and Wings’ output. Occasionally lyrics hover close to mundane, but he’s often suffered from that problem. The arrangements, however, are always fervent and exuberant. The album’s dual closer of the anti-Trump “Despite Repeated Warnings” and the blues-rock medley “Hunt You Down” will leave older Beatles fans virtually out of breath, proving that Paul’s rocking never stops.