charon-the-oarsman | West Hollywood, CA United States | 04/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I thought I would never live to see the day when the droolers at Elektra would wipe their chins and finally issue "Spy" on CD. At last, the glorious day arrived! This is Carly's second project with producer Arif Mardin and her follow-up to the platinum-selling "Boys in the Trees." After the back-to-back smash singles "Nobody Does It Better" and "You Belong to Me," this album seemed poised for monster success. Instead, it was Carly's first bona fide flop. The ultra-commercial single "Vengeance" was bafflingly omitted from radio playlists. (I heard it on the radio only once that entire summer, and the DJ cut it off in the middle of the sax solo.) No doubt the Elektra promo department dropped the ball, presumably distracted in their no-holds-barred efforts to promote Eddie Rabbitt that year. Go figure. This album is not the masterpiece that "Boys in the Trees" was, but it does contain some of Carly's finest work. "We're So Close" is arguably one of her five best songs. The title track is a fun romp; "Never Been Gone" is another stand-out. Carly assembled the best studio musicians of the day and they shine in solos sprinkled generously throughout the album. The few weak spots ("Coming to Get You," "Memorial Day") are more than compensated for. This album deserved much better than it got. Shame on you, Elektra."
Anais Nin should be proud of Carly
J. Collins | 06/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many of Amazon's reviewers don't seem to know what to make of "Spy," and one has to wonder if they've ever read the album's liner notes. "I am an international spy in the House of Love," reads the album's epigram (a quote from Anais Nin), and therein lies the answer to all these questions about the musical variation and "inner meanings" of the songs themselves. I regard "Spy" as Carly's most creative "concept" album, as well as one of the most musically compelling titles in her catalog.Secrecy, adultery, sincerity, lies, fantasy, sympathy, proprietary emotions and desperate freedom...these themes are all represented as Carly traverses a spectrum of intellectual idealism to spiritual hedonism. Granted, it takes a lot of reading between the lines to find all these subjects, but they are there...just as Carly intended. Following the traditional romanticism and sweet reminiscinces of "Boys In The Trees," "Spy" represents an emotional progression that is surprising in it's clarity; in other words, if "Boys..." was a statement of marital solidarity, "Spy" is a reflection of her dissatisfaction with her role as wife and mother. "Spy" seeks to circumvent the limitations of marital convention, and experiments with various fantasy roles and predicaments.Though Carly has written songs that tap into a number of the themes used in "Spy," never has she put together such a potent statement, lyrically speaking. The music of "Spy" is pure late-70s Pop, with elements of mainstream rock and lite jazz, often laid over a disco-friendly rhythm track. The combination of her words and music is remarkably fitting...the snarling guitars paired with her assertive sentiments on "Vengeance," the sexual whimsy of "Pure Sin"'s words paired with the song's airy synthesizer and ticking cowbell, etc.Amid all the conflicting desires (confident monogamy, one night stands and afternoon delights) that pop up on "Spy," the single most potent craving would seem to be contentment. In "Never Been Gone," Carly discards her fantasies and "would-be's" for the security and warmth of home. Though the song would have made a logical closing sentiment, she wisely places it in the middle, and thus avoids a predictable "no place like home" moral to this musical adventure.Despite a couple of clinkers (the over-wrought "Coming To Get You" and the overlong "Memorial Day"), "Spy" is one of Carly's most captivating and enduring musical accomplishments. It's a shame that few people appreciate it for the classic it truly is."
Michael Butts | Martinsburg, WV USA | 07/13/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When this first came out, it was one of my favorite albums from Carly. Now, 20 years later, I see many flaws my youthful exuberance didn't notice. While the disc certainly has some great tunes, there are some that just manage to irritate me now. For instance, I used to really like "Memorial Day", but on listening to it now, it seems to make little lyrical sense, and it is just too long. Even the drum solo at the end now seems so pedestrian and ostentatious. I never did care much for "Coming to Get You" with its feminist bravado and irritating melody line. Carly seems like she's screaming on this one. I dislike it even more now. However, thank God, the other tracks still stand tall. "Vengeance" uses a feminist motif too, but it is quite different. The vocals are earthy and the metaphors work so well. "Love You By Heart", "We're So Close," and "Spy" are also still top-notch Carly. Definitely a must for Carly fans, just not as good as some of her other releases."
Carly's dark horse-could just be her best
John Nelson | North Fond du Lac, WI | 06/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Carly Simon's record SPY is probably the best album she has released, strange since it isn't a very popular album but that would be typical. Just about all the songs-say with the exception of COMING TO GET YOU, are pretty easy to listen to and are good pieces of music. The songs still have a feel of Carly's older records of the 70's and before the early 80's almost killed her career. Of the songs VENGENACE is a very decent rock song, JUST LIKE YOU DO is pretty good too even though it doesn't have the rock beat of VENGENACE, MEMORIAL DAY is a bit long but stick with it, the drum solo at the end is terrific. WERE SO CLOSE is the undisputed gem of the album, and is probably one of her best. It is a song about togetherness no matter where you live or what happens in your life together. All of the other songs on the album are good too. If your a fan of Carly Simon, you need this album on your shelf. Get ahold of it as soon as you can."
The End Of An Era
Eric Something | Seattle, Wa | 02/19/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I brought this album shortly after I saw
Carly perform "Vengeance" and "We're So Close"
on the Midnight Special when I was 12. It was
my first contemporary rock album i bought and I wore it
out, invented harmonies to sing along with her
to every track I could. Definitely an exciting
time for my musical developing ear. Before this
Streisand was my only musical muse. This album opened me
to an idea I still have to this day. Good music
is universally able to transcend boundaries of race,
class, and age. Looking back at her catalog "Memorial
Day" is still an epic of mystery to me-a road Carly
went down artistically that she arguably hasn't been