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Sunday, January 30, 2011

In praise of a 39-year old masterpiece

This weekend I restored my record deck to pride of place in my work room at home and played a lot of vinyl. I enjoyed There Goes Rhymin' Simon more than anything. Paul Simon's got a new album coming out soon. I expect it will be good but it's unlikely to be as good as "Rhymin' Simon". I doubt it will have songs quite as vivid and spare as these. That would be asking too much.

This is my thirty-ninth year of listening to this record. For most of that time I've absorbed it sub-consciously, with the result that the lyrics occasionally pop into my mind in response to different situations that life presents you with. The line from "Kodachrome" about the old girlfriends never matching his sweet imagination. The line from "Tenderness" saying you don't have to lie to me as long as you give me some tenderness beneath your honesty. The observation in "Learn How To Fall" about life being "an occupation where the wind prevails". It's not just beautiful and uniquely memorable. It's as if "Rhymin' Simon" has gone before.