A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library. ~Shelby Foote

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Art Garfunkel: One Lucky SOB

Don't get me wrong-- Art Garfunkel has a lovely voice. But man, to get paired with Paul Simon, one of the best, maybe the best, song writers of their generation? That's some good fortune, because lots of other guys have lovely tenor voices-- there are a handful of people in the world with Paul Simon's talent, creativity and drive.

Seriously, today I was listening to Disk 2 of his greatest hits compendium, and the dude is just awesome. Slip Sliding Away, Late in the Evening, Born at the Right Time. Just awesome. Great music, great lyrics, great songs. His stuff didn't get stagnant the way a lot of artists did across a 40+ year career-- he kept reinventing his material by adding raggae, or african beats, or rhythm and blues, or gospel, or... well, you get the idea. All of that, yet somehow he makes it his own, takes it and gives it the Paul Simon stamp of approval.

Why the music ramble? Not sure. Mostly because Slip Slidin' Away really stuck with me today-- the hook is infectious, but the words are really sad--yet uplifting all at the same time. Perhaps because of the music.

But maybe its time for a music based Friday's list. That's a plan. No specifics yet, but yeah, a music based list tomorrow.

In the meantime:

And I know a father who had a son
He longed to tell him all the reasons for the things he’d done
He came a long way just to explain
He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
Then he turned around and he headed home again

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

Art Garfunkel: One Serious Wimp

Man, Paul Simon was so much better off without that sissy boy. The music improved 100% once Simon was on his own.

I actually liked Simon and Garfunkel's stuff in the day, but it's so sissy and so whiney that it's best in limited doses.
I'm not sure if you realize this or not Nick, but there are quality songwriters under the age of 50 in the world. Maybe you should try to pull together a list of them. Ooops, you may need a couple of weeks to come up with more two names, huh?
Snark, snark, snark. I realize it, just don't care. I would also venture to say that there is a big difference between a quality songwriter and a great songwriter. Paul Simon is a great songwriter. Very few others fall into that category, no matter their age.

Two weeks? Nah. How about these: Sheryl Crow (43), Billie Joe Armstrong/Mike Dirnt (not sure which one does most of the writing, I disagree with their politics completely, but they are quality songwriters and they are most definitely under 50), Gwen Stefani, Kurt Cobain (dead, but he'd be under 50 if not), Flea/Anthony Kiedis, and so on.

I'm not as old as all that, that was five off the top of my head-- though I admit I had to look up who was actually in Green Day and I couldn't remember Kiedis' name without using the Web. But I will say that part of what defines a great songwriter, as opposed to a quality songwriter, is the ability to keep doing it, year in and year out, without going stale. Not an easy trick, and likely why a lot of bands have one or two hits and then fade away.

But at any rate, a topic for greater discussion. So, on to this week's Friday List!
You mention that a great songwriter does it for a long time, but the only Paul Simon songs that you mentioned were 20 plus years old. Just for fun, name a really good Paul Simon song from the last 15 years.

I'll bet I can name more than a few really good Doug Martsch song's from the last 15 years.
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