There’s two songs here that deserve an A. The obvious one is “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” a martial beat in the verses that’s almost as lyrical as the drumming from “Cecilia” and a sassily delivered chorus filled with cute rhymes. This would turn out to be the biggest hit of Paul Simon’s solo career, and probably the reason Still Crazy After All These Years nabbed the Grammy for Album of the Year. (Funny story: in his acceptance speech, Simon thanked Stevie Wonder, who won the award the previous two years in a row, for not putting an album out that year. Stevie Wonder proceeded to win the following year’s award.) The other one is the title track and opener. Gorgeously toned, gorgeously phrased (“I-met-my olddddd lover on the street last night,” “Still crazy, after all these years / WOAAHHHHHH Still crazy, after all these years,” “FOURRRRRR in the morning”), gorgeous saxophone solo rounding out a bridge of string and wind instruments.
Sucks that the rest of the album ain’t much to shout about. “My Little Town” gets a fair bit of attention for reuniting Paul with Art Garfunkel, the first time in half a decade, but there’s not much to see beyond the opening piano line; the climax of “Gone at Last” is ridiculously over-the-top on an album that would rather ruminate quietly; “Have a Good Time” has a nice chorus but not so nice verses; “You’re Kind” has a clunky rhythm; the religious “Silent Eyes” belongs on a completely different album. Rolling Stone‘s Paul Nelson highlights the differences between Still Crazy and a much better breakup album released that same year that would have won the Grammy in any juster world: “Inside the lush and dolorous Still Crazy, there is a lean, hungry Blood on the Tracks trying to get out. Both LPs chronicle the dissolution of a marriage, but where Dylan, with ofttimes awkward agony, makes you feel it. Simon, with more slick professionalism than is good for his subject matter, makes you think you feel it — a crucial difference.”