Monday, October 1, 2012

Simon and Garfunkel...Mostly

September, we hardly knew thee. Well, the leaves are beginning to change here in the Boston area. You know you live in New England when the weatherman/woman ends his/her segment with a map of "Current Fall Foliage," showing where the changing leaves are "peaking."

On a related note, there has to be a better name than "leaf peeping," for traveling to these spots to see the changing leaves.

I need to get another thing off my chest: Fun's "Some Nights" is a total rip off of "Cecilia." I mean, it's a great and catchy song, but the chord structure and "Woo-oo-oh" part, totally Cecilia. Not that I'm complaining.

Speaking of Simon and Garfunkel, can we all agree that Art Garfunkel is one of the luckiest men alive? Talk about hitching your wagon to the right horse. How did that conversation go? "Hey, Paul, how about you write all the songs, sing the melody, and play guitar, and I'll sing high ethereal harmonies and take half of the credit?"

What's that? Oh, you're asking what my favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs are? Here they are:

5. Cecilia - If you don't turn this up and clap along when it comes on the radio, you're probably a cyborg.

Also, did you know that St. Cecilia is the saint of songwriting? You can interpret the whole song as Simon praying for the creative muse to return.

4. Red Rubber Ball - So, Simon actually wrote this for the band, The Cyrkle (who I believe was christened by John Lennon), but here are Simon and Garfunkel doing it later. For some reason, I just love this song.

3. Song for the Asking - simply beautiful. This may be my favorite song under two minutes. It's one of those you always have to listen to (at least) twice.

1. (tie) America  - I love this song. It's melancholy, humorous, and beautiful. Here's the two of them doing it at Central Park.

My love for the song was only heightened by this iconic scene from Almost Famous:

This scene combines three wonderful things: Zooey Deschanel, Francis McDormand, and that shot of the boy flipping through those records.

1. (tie) Only Living Boy in New York - Again, heart-breakingly beautiful. Apparently Simon wrote this when Garfunkel was down in Mexico filming Catch-22 as the duo was slowly disintegrating. "Tom" was the pseudonym for Garfunkel when they first started playing together as the band "Tom & Jerry."

This song also has a personal history with me. When I was in Ecuador my first year of college, I didn't have a fan for the first half of the year (no room in my luggage). If you know me, you know what a disaster this would have been/was/is. To make up for the loss of white noise, I decided to fall asleep listening to music (which also led to the development of painful scabs on my ears...gross). My two go-to CDs were Simon and Garfunkel and Wings' Greatest Hits albums. The last two songs on the Simon and Garfunkel CD were "Only Living Boy in New York" and "My Little Town." If I got to these two songs, it meant I did not fall asleep within the hour of songs. So for years after whenever I heard these songs, it gave me that restless, melancholy feeling of not being able to fall asleep. Yet, it slowly morphed into a kind of nostalgia for Ecuador/Quito, The Andes, and the simpler times of those first few years in college when the next few years of your life are pretty much planned but the future is still so wide open with possibilities.  "My Little Town" still bums me out, probably because I haven't listened to it as much as "Only Living Boy in New York" since.

And this song is the soundtrack to another beautiful scene in the movie Garden State. It won't let me embed it, but you know the one..."screaming into the abyss"

Close runners-up: Kathy's Song, The Boxer, Old Friends. For a great Christmas song, check out Simon and Garfunkel's "Star Carol." And this doesn't even begin to touch my favorite Paul Simon songs: American Tune, Kodachrome (you know, the one that I used to think was, "Momma gonna take my coat and throw it away."), Mother and Child Reunion (inspired by the name of a chicken and egg dish at a restaurant Simon frequented), Love Me Like a Rock, etc. etc.

Man, this blog post took a different direction than I had expected. You're welcome.

This Massachusetts senate race is getting ugly. Also, I think one of every two commercials is approved by Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren. It makes for some good TV viewing. The second debate is tonight, so hopefully they can keep it civil. Then, Wednesday we'll get to see Obama and Romney square off for the first time! Romney sure has some catching up to do. Let's see if he can offend the other 53% of Americans who apparently don't eat from the government trough. My guess, in the form of a chant: YES HE CAN! YES HE CAN! YES HE CAN!

Okay, time to go take a German quiz! Later.


  1. Did you see that Art Garfunkel is MISSING?!?!?!? Presumably in SWEDEN?!?!?! This is getting eerie.