May 24, 2012

Juniper and Lamplight: Appreciating Simon and Garfunkel

You know it's hard to pick favorites. But, I'll tell you, there is only one song of Simon and Garfunkel's that I don't like (unfortunately, it has become the one everyone hears). And I love love love almost all of their songs. They are decidedly a favorite.

I've been listening to their Live 1969 album (CD, MP3) which Starbucks released a few years ago (and you can also listen to it here) non-stop this week. 1969 was at the highpoint of their career. They had just released Bookends (by far their best album, and their most daring yet--it reached #1 on Billboard), and were finishing Bridge Over Troubled Water--their fifth and final studio album.

Still, it's hard for me to judge these songs outright, because I have loved them for so long. But I keep wondering if there really was any other musicians like them. Beautiful melodies, elegant harmonies,striking and evocative language--poetry, really, not obscure but pure and lovely. (And, my personal opinion is that neither musician is as good without the other.) One of my favorite of their songs, "A Dangling Conversation" (below) begins with the phrase "It's a still life watercolor / in the now late afternoon" and I always think that is the perfect description of their harmonies. But then they do the fun, upbeat, rockin' songs so well too. (And there is no better parody of Bob Dylan. Ps. Happy Birthday, Bob!)

So, a moment for Simon and Garfunkel, my friends.

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