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The College of Musical Knowledge

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I'm listening to Paul Simon's "Negotiations and Love Songs, 1971-1986" CD now, wondering how 1986 turned into 2009.

Generally, I'm not a fan of "greatest hits" CDs; seems they always contain a clunker or two. But I've loved this disc ever since I bought it when it was new. Maybe it's because to my ears, the songs have aged so well. Or maybe it's better put to say that to my ears, the songs haven't aged at all. Maybe it's because so many of them could be in the soundtrack to my life. "Kodachrome" would certainly be on the soundtrack; I love the melody, and these lyrics summarize my youth:

If you took all the girls I knew when I was single,
And brought 'em all together for one night,
I know they'd never match my sweet imagination,
And everything looks worse in black and white.

There are so many good songs on this disc: "St. Judy's Comet," "Train in the Distance," "Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War," "Hearts and Bones," to name just a few. But my favorite is "Slip Slidin' Away." I was thinking about the lyrics as I lay in bed last night, waiting for sleep to come:

I know a woman became a wife.
These are the very words she uses to describe her life:
She said a good day ain't got no rain.
She said a bad day is when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been.

And haven't we all had those kinds of days?

The song closes with four lines that are as close to a description of life as any I've found:

God only knows. God makes his plan.
The information's unavailable to the mortal man.
We're workin' our jobs, collect our pay,
Believe we're gliding down the highway, when in fact we're slip sliding away.

This is the kind of music that keeps me coming back. Must be because I'm still crazy after all these years.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 25th, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
adding Paul Simon to the list of "things i gotta get"
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
It's a big catalog, and to be honest, I am woefully ignorant about anything he's put out for the past 20 years or so. But I love the CD cited above, and "Graceland" knocked me out when it was new too.
Jun. 25th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
I think we sometimes dismiss songs with catchy tunes that get (or had gotten) lots of radio play as nothing more than that - a catchy tune. But when you spend time with his lyrics, then and now, they can knock you flat on your ass, they're that wonderful.

Paul Simon's most recent cd, Surprise, certainly didn't get the radio play that his older stuff did, (more to do with the death of radio, I suppose) but I think the writing is magnificent.

Now about those "best of" cds. Do you think they stick the clunkers on there to try and re-market the song, or are just not enough best-of songs to fill the disc? I've been known to buy a few, and sometimes I think, "How can this be a "best of" song if I've never even heard it before?"
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the tout about Surprise.

My guess about "best of" CDs is that there's just not enough top-shelf stuff to fill the CD, or maybe the artist like those particular songs for some reason.
Jun. 25th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC)
I know a woman became a wife.
These are the very words she uses to describe her life:
She said a good day ain't got no rain.
She said a bad day is when I lie in bed
And think of things that might have been.

-- I believe those lyrics are him describing Carrie Fisher. At least that's what she wrote in her biography.
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
What's the book, Postcards from the Edge? And how is it? She strikes me as being an interesting person.
Jun. 26th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
Actually, it's her autobiography called "Wishful Drinking." It came out in December and Dani got it for me for an anniversary present.

Although I didn't exactly enjoy her writing so much, she still has an interesting story. You're more than welcome to borrow it if you'd like.

Jun. 25th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
Those are all really pretty lyrics.
Jun. 25th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
With music to match.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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