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No Secrets
Carly Simon

Elektra 75049
Released: December 1972
Chart Peak: #1
Weeks Charted: 71
Certified Gold: 12/8/72

Carly SimonCarly Simon's third album comes handsomely dressed by super-producer Richard Perry and boasts many illustrious helpers. In the degree of its intelligence and forthrightness it is the equal of its predecessors. Regardless of the quality of her songs -- they range from fair to excellent -- everything Carly does is likeable for her radiant vocal personality. She has the whitest of white voices and uses it well, singing full throat with her faultless enunciation. Her almost literal note-for-note phrasing of songs is uniquely ingenuous.

Carly Simon - No Secrets
Original album advertising art.
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The obvious highlight of No Secrets is the hit single, "You're So Vain," an affectionately high-spirited put-down of a male chauvinist glamour boy: "Well I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won/Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia/To see the total eclipse of the sun/You're where you should be all the time and when you're not/You're with some underworld spy or the wife of a close friend..." A medium-paced rocker with a good tune, it climaxes with a sardonic chorus, which has Mick Jagger singing unison backup: "You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you." Though the idea of Carly and Mick singing together sounds incongruous, the combination turns out to be inspired alchemy, especially bracing if heard through headphones.

James Taylor's "Night Owl" is the album's second-best cut. Among the guests sitting in on this hard bluesy rocker are Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voorman and Bobby Keys, with background vocals by Bonnie Bramlett, Doris Troy and the McCartneys. Of the album's eight other cuts, five take up the subject of time -- lovers' time versus childhood time -- playing variations on Carly's favorite theme. The implicit assumption behind these songs is the difficulty of being happy, especially when in love, without over-analyzing one's happiness so as to dissipate its intensity. The realization that emotion and rationalization are often irreconcilable is most painfully expressed in Carly's ballad, "(We Have) No Secrets":



Further reading on
Super Seventies RockSite!:

Album Review: Anticipation

Album Review: Hotcakes

Single Review:
"You're So Vain"

Carly Simon:
In Her Own Words

2005 Moonlight Serenade
Interview

Seventies' Greatest Album
Covers: Playing Possum

Carly Simon Lyrics

Carly Simon Videos

Carly Simon Mugshots


We tell each other everything
About the lovers in our past
And why they didn't last
We share a cast of characters from A to Z
We know each other's fantasies
And though we know each other better when we explore
Sometimes I wish
Often I wish
I never knew
Some of those secrets of yours.

Just as direct and personal is Carly's childhood fantasy of her father, "Embrace Me, You Child": "At night in bed I heard God whisper lullabies/While Daddy next door whistled whiskey tunes/And sometimes when I wanted they would harmonize/There was nothing that those two couldn't do." Two songs with lyrics by Jacob Brackman -- "The Carter Family" and "It Was So Easy" -- also look back nostalgically toward youthful innocence. With the exception of "You're So Vain," Carly's lyrics are stronger than her tunes. But what finally makes No Secrets so refreshing is her singing, which conveys the finest spirit of patrician generosity.

- Stephen Holden, Rolling Stone, 1/4/73.

Bonus Reviews!

This super package, recorded in London and produced by Richard Perry, is Carly Simon's first album in quite some time. It is filled with Simon originals and sprinkled with musician credits like Klaus Voorman, James Taylor, Jimmy Ryan and more. "His Friends Are More Than Fond of Robin," "Embrace Me You Child," "When You Close Your Eyes" (written with Billy Merritt) are all standout cuts. Current single "You're So Vain" is a highlight.

- Billboard, 1972.

If a horse could sing in monotone, the horse would sound like Carly Simon, only a horse wouldn't rhyme "yacht," "apricot," and "gavotte." Is that some kind of joke? Why did Mick Jagger want her? Why does James Taylor want her? Come to think of it, why does she want either of them? B-

- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.

No Secrets is forthright, passionate and wonderfully outspoken, particularly on the great put-down classic "You're So Vain." * * * *

- Patrick McCarty, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.

It's no secret that this sexy, soulful record represents prolific Carly at her peak. Great then, classic now, her unique, evocative voice handles some fine material like "The Right Thing to Do," her duet with then-partner James Taylor, and her deeply personal signature "You're So Vain" -- and whether they think that tune is about them or not, perhaps today's pop divas could learn something from Simon's carefully crafted songs. * * * *

- Zagat Survey Music Guide - 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.

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