Paul Simon: Genius or Wanker?

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Paul Simon: Genius or Wanker?

Genius.
35
63%
Wanker.
21
38%
 
Total votes: 56

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Count Machuki
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Postby Count Machuki » 03 Jul 2007, 15:33

Buddha-B. Rex wrote:Wait...I thought he was a 'yutz'. There's a difference between a 'yutz' and a 'putz', you know...and I think the proper spelling is 'schlub' not zhlub'. [/pedant]


the online yiddish dictionary i consulted begs to differ. additionally, a 'zh' is probably intended to substitute for an 's' with a hatch mark (don't know how to type it), which is a hard 'sh,' at least in linguistic notation. but that's neither here nor there.

give me a copy of graceland, and i'll make you a cd of real, soulful music (USA and africa) that will be a more enjoyable listen than that record, which is the musical equivalent of exhibiting eskimos as 'snow people' in a travelling sideshow.

paul simon, what a schmuck... :roll:
Last edited by Count Machuki on 03 Jul 2007, 15:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Jul 2007, 15:39

Paul Simon was one of the finest songwriters to emerge from one of pop music's greatest periods. If my only choices are 'genius' and 'wanker', I'll pick genius without hesitation. If you can sit down and write a song like "Bridge Over Troubled Water", I'll entertain your opinion on the "wanker" option - otherwise take it down the street.

Personally I'm a bigger fan of his work previous to Graceland, though I think that the charges of cultural imperialism and "featherlite African pop" largely miss the point of the album. It was an interesting experiment and it yielded some pretty evocative music. Coan singled out "You Can Call Me Al" for derision, but I find it funnier and more joyful than half of the lackluster protopunk he prizes - so what do I know?

Simon hasn't been terribly prolific in the las few decades, and much of what he has released seems to me to play away from his strengths. But he's forgotten more about songwriting than any of us ever knew in the first place, so he gets a big fat pass from me.

As for 'Me and Julio' - I like it. Would I pick it out as an example of Simon's best? Probably not. But it is a good example of how great his ability was at that moment in time. He could seemingly toss off songs like that with ease back then.
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Postby Diamond Dog » 03 Jul 2007, 15:40

Sir John Coan wrote:I don't know much about him as a person at all, but I suspect he's a bit of a tool.

To be honest, the affection people have for Graceland and its featherlite African pop songs is completely beyond my comprehension. And 'You Can Call Me Al' is honestly one of the twenty worst songs I've ever heard in my life.


My feelings exactly.
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Postby Tom Violence » 03 Jul 2007, 15:41

You make it sound like the two are mutually exclusive.
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Postby Buddha B-Rex » 03 Jul 2007, 15:42

Pretty Boy Floyd wrote:You make it sound like the two are mutually exclusive.


:lol:

count machuki wrote:
Buddha-B. Rex wrote:Wait...I thought he was a 'yutz'. There's a difference between a 'yutz' and a 'putz', you know...and I think the proper spelling is 'schlub' not zhlub'. [/pedant]


the online yiddish dictionary i consulted begs to differ. additionally, a 'zh' is probably intended to substitute for an 's' with a hatch mark (don't know how to type it), which is a hard 'sh,' at least in linguistic notation. but that's neither here nor there.

give me a copy of graceland, and i'll make you a cd of real, soulful music (USA and africa) that will be a more enjoyable listen than that record, which is the musical equivalent of exhibiting eskimos as 'snow people' in a travelling sideshow.

paul simon, what a schmuck... :roll:


Please cite.

I'll admit you've turned me on to some seriously hot, hot shit, sir, but I think I'm educated enough to know the difference between soul and chaff. If your schwantz is half as big as your chutzpah, I feel sorry for your woman!

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Postby sloopjohnc » 03 Jul 2007, 15:46

davey the frat boy wrote:Paul Simon was one of the finest songwriters to emerge from one of pop music's greatest periods. If my only choices are 'genius' and 'wanker', I'll pick genius without hesitation. If you can sit down and write a song like "Bridge Over Troubled Water", I'll entertain your opinion on the "wanker" option - otherwise take it down the street.

Personally I'm a bigger fan of his work previous to Graceland, though I think that the charges of cultural imperialism and "featherlite African pop" largely miss the point of the album. It was an interesting experiment and it yielded some pretty evocative music. Coan singled out "You Can Call Me Al" for derision, but I find it funnier and more joyful than half of the lackluster protopunk he prizes - so what do I know?

Simon hasn't been terribly prolific in the las few decades, and much of what he has released seems to me to play away from his strengths. But he's forgotten more about songwriting than any of us ever knew in the first place, so he gets a big fat pass from me.

As for 'Me and Julio' - I like it. Would I pick it out as an example of Simon's best? Probably not. But it is a good example of how great his ability was at that moment in time. He could seemingly toss off songs like that with ease back then.


Finally. Good post Davey.

Re: whether he's a tool or not, I think he probably has some of the "toolish" tendencies, celebrities have, but no more than Paul McCartney, for example.

He's not a half-bad comedic actor and always seems okay poking fun at himself. I remember him coming on SNL in that chicken suit. I tried finding a pic, but couldn't.

I don't know if an outright tool would do that.
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Postby Count Machuki » 03 Jul 2007, 15:48

Please cite.

I'll admit you've turned me on to some seriously hot, hot shit, sir, but I think I'm educated enough to know the difference between soul and chaff. If your schwantz is half as big as your chutzpah, I feel sorry for your woman!

Hoyoooohhh!


zing!

i got you. i'll tell you what, tell me which genres these loosely fit into:

1. "The Boy In the Bubble" - 3:59
2. "Graceland" - 4:50
3. "I Know What I Know" - 3:13
4. "Gumboots" - 2:44
5. "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" - 5:48
6. "You Can Call Me Al" - 4:40
7. "Under African Skies" - 3:37
8. "Homeless" - 3:48
9. "Crazy Love Vol II" - 4:19
10. "That Was Your Mother" - 2:52
11. "All Around The World or The Myth Of Fingerprints" - 3:15



...and i'll come w/ a superior example of the ril dil.

(this challenge presumes at least a passing familiarity with congolese soukous and the senegambian pop tradition)


-->
<--

and for yr 'me & julio'...either joe cuba's 'el pito' or celia cruz's 'tumbaloflesicodelicomicoso'

put that in yr pipe and smoke it.
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Then it follows that ∀ k ∈ K: K ∈ U ⇒ k ∉ D

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Postby Count Machuki » 03 Jul 2007, 15:51

Buddha-B. Rex wrote:

Please cite.



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rumbled!
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Then it follows that ∀ k ∈ K: K ∈ U ⇒ k ∉ D

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Jul 2007, 15:58

count machuki wrote:
Please cite.

I'll admit you've turned me on to some seriously hot, hot shit, sir, but I think I'm educated enough to know the difference between soul and chaff. If your schwantz is half as big as your chutzpah, I feel sorry for your woman!

Hoyoooohhh!


zing!

i got you. i'll tell you what, tell me which genres these loosely fit into:

1. "The Boy In the Bubble" - 3:59
2. "Graceland" - 4:50
3. "I Know What I Know" - 3:13
4. "Gumboots" - 2:44
5. "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" - 5:48
6. "You Can Call Me Al" - 4:40
7. "Under African Skies" - 3:37
8. "Homeless" - 3:48
9. "Crazy Love Vol II" - 4:19
10. "That Was Your Mother" - 2:52
11. "All Around The World or The Myth Of Fingerprints" - 3:15



...and i'll come w/ a superior example of the ril dil.

(this challenge presumes at least a passing familiarity with congolese soukous and the senegambian pop tradition)


-->
<--

and for yr 'me & julio'...either joe cuba's 'el pito' or celia cruz's 'tumbaloflesicodelicomicoso'

put that in yr pipe and smoke it.


But so fucking what, Count?

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Postby Count Machuki » 03 Jul 2007, 15:59

davey the frat boy wrote:But so fucking what, Count?



this kind of rhetoric i understand.
good point, well made.
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Then it follows that ∀ k ∈ K: K ∈ U ⇒ k ∉ D

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Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 03 Jul 2007, 16:00

count machuki wrote:
davey the frat boy wrote:But so fucking what, Count?



this kind of rhetoric i understand.
good point, well made.


S'all I'm saying... :lol:
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Postby nathan » 03 Jul 2007, 16:03

sloopjohnc wrote:He's not a half-bad comedic actor and always seems okay poking fun at himself. I remember him coming on SNL in that chicken suit.

I remember him doing a video short with David Letterman where they were learning how to be funny from Steve Martin. It was.

I think the guy is hilarious. Don't really care for his music too much though. Graceland is kind of nostalgic for me but not much more than that. It's extremely dated. I can't stand Simon and Garfunkel either. Worse than hippie music. No soul whatsoever.
Last edited by nathan on 03 Jul 2007, 16:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Count Machuki » 03 Jul 2007, 16:03

davey the frat boy wrote:
count machuki wrote:
davey the frat boy wrote:But so fucking what, Count?



this kind of rhetoric i understand.
good point, well made.


S'all I'm saying... :lol:


:lol:

to address your secondary point, organic trading of influences (elvis, the beatles, yr country example) is NOT cultural imperialism. i object to the unnatural, zombie-like grafting of an indigenous music onto a more dominant musical form.

don't force it, feel it.

No soul whatsoever


amen!
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Postby Carl's Son » 03 Jul 2007, 16:09

Genius for Paul Simon and There Goes Rhymin Simon. Never really liked Still Crazy After All These Years, never heard much of Graceland.
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Postby Billybob Dylan » 03 Jul 2007, 16:17

Buddha-B. Rex wrote:I grudgingly go with 'genius'. Too many great pop classics. Graceland seals the deal.

Make your case.

I think 'genius' is a little over the top. There are plenty of very good songwriters who can play the guitar well and sing decently enough that would never be saddled with the term 'genius' and I think Paul Simon is one of them.

Graceland never did much for me, but I like Paul Simon and I love There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Still Crazy.

I don't think much of the One Trick Pony soundtrack album, but I adore Late In The Evening. It's one of those songs that can cheer you up no matter how shitty you're feeling.
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Postby Corporate whore » 03 Jul 2007, 16:23

Wheres the 'Both' option?
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Postby Corporate whore » 03 Jul 2007, 16:23

And wheres the 'Footy' Option?
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Postby Leg of lamb » 03 Jul 2007, 16:31

count machuki wrote:to address your secondary point, organic trading of influences (elvis, the beatles, yr country example) is NOT cultural imperialism. i object to the unnatural, zombie-like grafting of an indigenous music onto a more dominant musical form.

don't force it, feel it.


Is this a moral or a musical point for you? Could the music ever be good enough to justify the 'imperialism', as you call it?

I mean, he had a flush of enthusiasm for African music and went over to work on his new songs with African musicians who, as far as I'm aware, avoided bitter exploitation at his hand. Whilst not 'authentic', it doesn't come across as forced to me. It sounds utterly joyful for the most part.

And 'featherlite' is a pretty good description of how I feel about Graceland! Lots of great, great pop music is 'featherlite'. Like a souffle or something. It's the perogative of rock to care about being heavy.
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Postby Count Machuki » 03 Jul 2007, 16:35

Leg of lamb wrote:
count machuki wrote:to address your secondary point, organic trading of influences (elvis, the beatles, yr country example) is NOT cultural imperialism. i object to the unnatural, zombie-like grafting of an indigenous music onto a more dominant musical form.

don't force it, feel it.


Is this a moral or a musical point for you?


yes. and a political point. we don't REALLY need to get into the adorno again, do we? or the kenneth burke? or the gramsci?

collaboration and exploitation are two different things. i feel that paul simon tends towards the latter.


Could the music ever be good enough to justify the 'imperialism', as you call it?


depends on how strict i feel at the moment, with the taste, morals, politics, etc.
it'd be tough.
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Postby dang65 » 03 Jul 2007, 16:39

I suppose a lot of people's feelings about Graceland will depend on their feelings about cultural imperialism. Personally, I adore cultural imperialism and much of my favourite music ever is blatantly guilty of it - African Sanctus, My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, 3 Mustaphas 3, Trans-Global Underground, Peter Gabriel, Talking Heads, a lot of Hip-Hop. I'm happy to listen to the pure and authentic stuff, but sometimes a little grafting of one "culture" onto another (i.e. one form of humanly created music onto another form of humanly created music) provides something genuinely fresh and exciting. I'd definitely include Graceland in there, especially considering what else was in the charts at that time. Still sounds good today as well.