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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: Sick; Simon 
6th-Apr-2006 01:02 am
Guitar
Sick all day today. Horrible headache, alternating from my head feeling filled with cement, filled with helium, and then just pulsing in my sinuses. And then again. I've been asleep for ages and heading back.

I'm also somehow able to be very excited–in a quiet, sick way–to have discovered that our great songsmith is coming forth with a new collection: the best kind of Surprise.

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more.
Maybe not in my lifetime,
But in yours I feel sure.
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edges of a thunderstorm
And these streets
Quiet as a sleeping army
Send their battered dreams to heaven,
To heaven
For the mother’s restless son
Who is a witness to–
Who is a warrior
Who denies his urge to break and run

Who says: Hard times?
I’m used to them.
The speeding planet burns?
I’m used to that.
My life’s so common it disappears.
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears
–Paul Simon
"The Cool, Cool River"
from the album The Rhythm of the Saints
Comments 
6th-Apr-2006 02:43 pm (UTC) - simon says
Anonymous
get well soon
6th-Apr-2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
Sorry you're feeling ill. Get better now!

Also, Rhythm of the Saints and Graceland together are Paul Simon's best work. S&G stuff is fine, great songs, etc, but those two albums are brilliant.
6th-Apr-2006 07:37 pm (UTC)
Ahhhh! A man of distinction and taste!

It took me some years of listening to realize that The Rhythm of the Saints was Simon's best work; I'd put it ahead of Graceland, finally, in that regard. Graceland had more "breakthrough" status with incorporating and popularizing (for an American audience) Worldbeat music, as well as colossal singles that The Rhythm of the Saints lacked, but pound-for-pound, as a collection, The Rhythm of the Saints is more consistently excellent songwriting. I suspect Simon is aware of this, too, by the way that the Rhythm material has continued to hold a certain dominance in his concert setlists all out of proportion to what I suspect is their actual popularity or "street value."
6th-Apr-2006 07:51 pm (UTC)
Why thank you!

His early work will always be what's considered iconic about him. It defined a cultural generation, almost as much as the Beatles and Bob Dylon. (Speaking of which, the SNL with Paul Simon in which he plays "Here Comes the Sun" with George Harrison is one of the best musical moments of all time. And you also get Paul Simon singing "Still Crazy" in a Turkey outfit. Priceless.)

I won't make a judgement as to which of those two albums is the better, but I will say that the song "Graceland" is possibly my favorite of his.
6th-Apr-2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
I knew I was going out on a limb to claim the one was better than the other.

Even worse, there's a long fight with Mark and Erik of Doug's old "Freeks" band against me and my other ND pal Kevin about whether Dylan or Simon is the Greatest American Songwriter. I'm sure I'm definitely in the minority position by siding with Simon.

Dylan clearly is unfathomably great, and has the gift of saying anything and turning it into poetry. (In fact, I think that the record will show that this freaks the hell out of/intimidates Simon in a big way.) Simon's lyrics, on the other hand, are a matter of slow crafting, and the final part of a song to come together, and I find that I'm ultimately more taken with his workmanship in the end. But of course that's all an argument for fun....
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