Paul Simon’s new album, Surprise, hits Australian stores on May 13. You can preview four tracks on his official website right now.

The album is a collaboration with the legendary Brian Eno (you know, he made the Microsoft sound). And, as the title suggests, the four tracks are a lot better than I expected. His last album, You’re The One, was a low key, one colour, acoustic affair. Listen to the electric buzz on the first track on the new one, How Can You Live In the Norhwest?, and Simon sounds not only modern but heck, maybe even relevant.

The world music voices hit on Wartime Prayers, but even then the song is full of dynamics and power (if not so much emotion – Simon is still the master of detachment. He is a rock, you know). And there is a bright shiny eighties guitar on Fathers And Daughters (courtesy of Bill Frisell?) but it’s a sweet, sweet song.

Paul Simon is pretty much the pinnacle of a certain age of artists. So many times you read that so-and-so’s album is their Graceland, that mid life masterpiece that appeals to people everywhere. And he’s made more money than most people and doesn’t need to do anymore. But it’s good to see him come out of the woodwork and try to add another album to an already great and brave catalogue.

Oh and I’m sorry the album cover really sucks.

SITE: Paul Simon’s official site
– featuring streams of 4 songs from Surprise
SITE: Some German online shop that has samples of all songs

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