Carly Simon / No Secrets – Listening in Depth

More of the Music of Carly Simon

Reviews and Commentaries for the Music of Carly Simon

Balance is key to getting all the tracks to sound their best. Many copies we played were too dull or too bright.

One more note: having your VTA set just right is critical to getting the best out of this album. The loudest vocal parts can easily strain otherwise.

Once you get your settings dialed in correctly, a copy like this will give you the kind of rich, sweet sound that brings out the best in this music.

Two Points

Listen to Embrace Me, You Child on side two — on the best copies you can really hear the rosiny texture of the strings as they are bowed.

The cymbals too can sound amazing — listen to how extended the crashes are on You’re So Vain.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

The Right Thing to Do
The Carter Family
You’re So Vain

A wonderful song and a good test track to boot. On the best copies the bass will be deep and well-defined, and one can expect the vocals to have a lovely breathy quality.

His Friends Are More Than Fond of Robin
We Have No Secrets

The top end is key to finding great sound on this album. If it’s boosted you’ll have a bright copy that will be glaringly unpleasant. If it’s missing or attenuated you’ll have a dull copy that’s boring and uninvolving.

Ah, but when it’s extended and correct everything else seems to fall into place. That’s why this song is such a good test track. If the voices sound smooth but you still have extension up top you know your copy has been mastered and pressed properly.

Side Two

Embrace Me, You Child

Focus on the strings. On most copies they’re either aggressively shrill when loud or they are smeared and lack texture. When they sound rich and clear though they can really be lovely.

Waited So Long
It Was So Easy

The pedal steel guitar on the best copies is surrounded by ambience and should have plenty of warmth and Tubey Magic.

Night Owl 
When You Close Your Eyes

AMG 4 1/2 Star Review

Carly Simon’s best album, No Secrets was also her commercial breakthrough, topping the charts and going gold, along with its leadoff single, You’re So Vain. That song set the album’s saucy tone, with its air of sexually frank autobiography (“You had me several years ago/When I was still quite naïve”) and its reflections on the jet-set lifestyle. But Simon’s honesty meant that her lyrical knife was double-edged; now that she felt she had found true love (“The Right Thing to Do,” another Top Ten hit, was her celebration of her relationship with James Taylor), she was as willing to acknowledge her own mistakes and regrets as she was to point fingers.

But it wasn’t only Simon’s forthrightness that made the album work; it was also Richard Perry’s simple, elegant pop/rock production, which gave Simon’s music a buoyancy it previously lacked.

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