BCB 100 - Simon & Garfunkel

Threads and discussion dedicated to major acts.
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Davey the Fat Boy
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 11 Jul 2006, 15:01

Dark Clark wrote:
Davey The Fat Boy wrote:"...Kathy I'm lost I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why......"


Even reading this line puts me in a moonscape of desolation and sends chills down me. Un-fucking-believable. It's a line for the bits of me that can never, ever relate to anybody at all.

Favourite Album: 'Bookends'
Favourite Song: 'The Only Living Boy In New York'


Yeah - Simon could have hung it up right there and he'd have earned his spot on the mountaintop. Music really doesn't offer anything better.

You know I've been turning a thought over ever since Geoffcowgill started the Velvet Underground thread by pointing out that the Velvet's and Simon & Garfunkel were both NY acts that operated in roughly the same time period. Both acts seem so different - and yet both acts were among the first to use personal alienation as a primary subject matter. They did it in completely different ways mind you, but what else is America about if not alienation?

I'm not sure what it all means. But there's something there....
“Remember I have said good things about benevolent despots before.” - Jimbo

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bixhenry
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Joined: 20 Jul 2003, 04:59
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Postby bixhenry » 11 Jul 2006, 15:45

Davey The Fat Boy wrote:
Dark Clark wrote:
Davey The Fat Boy wrote:"...Kathy I'm lost I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why......"


Even reading this line puts me in a moonscape of desolation and sends chills down me. Un-fucking-believable. It's a line for the bits of me that can never, ever relate to anybody at all.

Favourite Album: 'Bookends'
Favourite Song: 'The Only Living Boy In New York'


Yeah - Simon could have hung it up right there and he'd have earned his spot on the mountaintop. Music really doesn't offer anything better.

You know I've been turning a thought over ever since Geoffcowgill started the Velvet Underground thread by pointing out that the Velvet's and Simon & Garfunkel were both NY acts that operated in roughly the same time period. Both acts seem so different - and yet both acts were among the first to use personal alienation as a primary subject matter. They did it in completely different ways mind you, but what else is America about if not alienation?

I'm not sure what it all means. But there's something there....


Interesting to think about the S&G/Velvets/NY/alienation connections.

"...Kathy I'm lost I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why......"

I've rarely been able to hear that line without tearing up. Paul Simon, at that time, had such an economy about his lyrical approach. Even though, as a solo artist, he's probably better, deeper, more mature, the work of S&G - lyrically, melodically, and above all sonically - just hits my pleasure centers more often. Like many literate songwriters in legendary bands (e.g. Lou Reed, Robbie Robertson, Richard Thompson, etc.), Paul Simon certainly became more artistically ambitious over time, but sometimes you can see 'the man behind the curtain' a little too much - like you can hear and feel them overreach. Easy to admire, sometimes harder to love.

It's virtually impossible for me to listen to 'America' or 'The Only Living Boy In New York' and wonder, "why doesn't all music sound this good?"

Album - Bookends

Song - 'America' or 'The Only Living Boy In New York'

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Davey the Fat Boy
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 11 Jul 2006, 16:29

Quaco wrote:I agree with everything your saying, Davey. (Are you coming to the L.A. get-together, by the way?)


I wish I could. I don't live in LA anymore. I've been in Georgia the last few years.

Maybe on one of my trips home.

bixhenry wrote:"...Kathy I'm lost I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why......"

I've rarely been able to hear that line without tearing up. Paul Simon, at that time, had such an economy about his lyrical approach.


Yeah...that's right. In my own nascent attempts at songwriting, others may have loomed larger, but I learned the most from becoming aware of Paul Simon's (and Randy Newman's) economy with words. Though I have to say, I think Simon became even more spare with his words in the first part of his solo career.

Lyrical phrases like these are master's classes as far as I'm concerned:

in a phone both
in some local bar and grill
rehearsing what I'll say
my coin returns
how the heart approaches what it yearns


or

So goodbye, goodbye
I'm gonna leave you now
and here's the reason why
you like to sleep with the window open
and I like it closed
so goodbye, goodbye, goodbye


Simple but profound. Simon could indicate very large ideas with one or two well chosen details. The second of the two verses I quoted reminds me of the montage in Citizen Kane where Kane and his wife are eating a series of meals and end up sitting further and further away from each other. What better way to point out how lightly we take each other than to illustrate it the way Simon has above?

I was listening to You're The One the other day, trying to see if a few years off would make it work any better. But sadly it just lacks the economy, musically and lyrically of Simon's best work. The poetry is good. The musical ideas are good. But I keep wanting him to get to the hook or get to the point. I suppose he feels liberated poetically by working in a more free form style - but he is playing away from his strength as far as I'm concerned.

.
“Remember I have said good things about benevolent despots before.” - Jimbo

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BajaJaba
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Joined: 25 Jun 2006, 15:55

Postby BajaJaba » 11 Jul 2006, 17:53

Dark Clark wrote:
Davey The Fat Boy wrote:"...Kathy I'm lost I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why......"


Even reading this line puts me in a moonscape of desolation and sends chills down me. Un-fucking-believable. It's a line for the bits of me that can never, ever relate to anybody at all.

Favourite Album: 'Bookends'
Favourite Song: 'The Only Living Boy In New York'


Same as him, I was ranting to Angshu a while back about the song....man, it gives you the desolate feeling of being a miserable lonely twit but lifts you with that mesmerising bass line and the drums coming in at just the right time..

never have i felt so happy and miserable....

The Modernist

Postby The Modernist » 11 Jul 2006, 17:56

Am I allowed to say The Greatest Hits, that was the album I used to play again and again.
Song would be "America"; warm and sad.

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bixhenry
Posts: 1600
Joined: 20 Jul 2003, 04:59
Location: Santa Monica, CA

Postby bixhenry » 11 Jul 2006, 21:24

Davey The Fat Boy wrote:
Quaco wrote:I agree with everything your saying, Davey. (Are you coming to the L.A. get-together, by the way?)


I wish I could. I don't live in LA anymore. I've been in Georgia the last few years.

Maybe on one of my trips home.

bixhenry wrote:"...Kathy I'm lost I said, though I knew she was sleeping. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why......"

I've rarely been able to hear that line without tearing up. Paul Simon, at that time, had such an economy about his lyrical approach.


Yeah...that's right. In my own nascent attempts at songwriting, others may have loomed larger, but I learned the most from becoming aware of Paul Simon's (and Randy Newman's) economy with words. Though I have to say, I think Simon became even more spare with his words in the first part of his solo career.

Lyrical phrases like these are master's classes as far as I'm concerned:

in a phone both
in some local bar and grill
rehearsing what I'll say
my coin returns
how the heart approaches what it yearns


or

So goodbye, goodbye
I'm gonna leave you now
and here's the reason why
you like to sleep with the window open
and I like it closed
so goodbye, goodbye, goodbye


Simple but profound. Simon could indicate very large ideas with one or two well chosen details. The second of the two verses I quoted reminds me of the montage in Citizen Kane where Kane and his wife are eating a series of meals and end up sitting further and further away from each other. What better way to point out how lightly we take each other than to illustrate it the way Simon has above?

I was listening to You're The One the other day, trying to see if a few years off would make it work any better. But sadly it just lacks the economy, musically and lyrically of Simon's best work. The poetry is good. The musical ideas are good. But I keep wanting him to get to the hook or get to the point. I suppose he feels liberated poetically by working in a more free form style - but he is playing away from his strength as far as I'm concerned.

.


We agree, as is so often the case. I got the new PS album, Surprise and, having heard it a couple of times, find the same faults with it as we do with You're The One - artistically ambitious, but ultimately a flabby work. Why on earth does Paul Simon need Brian Eno to help flesh out his sonic palette? Putting buzzy, faux atmospheric guitars and bloopy synths over these songs does nothing to serve the songs or both of these talented artists' artistic reputations - it just makes caricatures out of both ("the wordy nerd and the avant-nerd together for the first time!").

Star collaborations, by and large, have to exhibit some degree of humility for them to get my attention these days, which is why I like the Costello/Toussaint collaboration, The River In Reverse. Much of the record consists of EC singing (not oversinging) Toussaint's hits for Lee Dorsey, and he does a fine job. It's not a bloated concept record (though it is thematically linked somewhat to New Orleans/Hurricane Katrina) - just a collection of old and new songs, nicely done. That's more than enough for me these days.

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Carlisle Wheeling
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Joined: 25 Aug 2003, 23:26
Location: out on the time-coast..... Manchester

Postby Carlisle Wheeling » 12 Jul 2006, 17:14

Album: Sounds Of Silence (UK version)

Song: The Only Living Boy In New York