Turning to Seven Psalms of his own creation for comfort and clarity, the retired-from-touring Paul Simon wrestles with the big question on his unexpected new album. 

Seven Psalms is a 33-minute song cycle full of recurring musical themes, Easter-egg allusions to Simon’s songbook and of stream-of-consciousness lyrics that include talking cows and the almighty as a record producer. 

Mostly acoustic, wispy and orchestral, and splattered with percussion but no drums, Seven Psalms is the kind of spare music that once would have leaned on Simon’s lyrics for strength. But such metaphors as, “Broke me like a twig in a winter gale” aren’t the stuff of “Bridge over Troubled Water” or “The Sound of Silence.”

Edie Brickell joins her 81-year-old husband on the LP’s final third, bringing warm sunshine to a winter album. And it is here that Simon’s agnosticism seems to lean more toward believing than not. 

“Amen,” the couple sing as the book closes on Seven Psalms