Monday, April 25, 2011

Paul Simon-Dazzling Blue

Sorry for the pause in the jams. Like most of Spain, I spent last week searching for sunshine amongst the worst weather here in 80 years, but still had a great time travelling with my girlfriend and Johnny KTM. Now, back to the jams:

You gotta respect artists of all mediums who, even after making it beyond the wildest dreams of all but a few, continue to grind, continue to try and push themselves and their art further. It's a fine line. On one side you have a group like the Rolling Stones, legends in music history, who come together every few years because it seems like the bills are piling up. Fair enough. But then you also have an artist like Paul Simon, musically relevant for decades now, whose recent album So Beautiful Or So What sounds, above all, like a individual challenge. Like he woke up one morning and said to himself (in the third person, how I imagine all rock-stars exclusively address themselves), "Paul, let's go."

Today's jamandahalf shows Simon revisiting some of the musical motifs from the classic album Graceland. One of the first to pull influences from Afro-pop, he plays on the familiarity of the sound while keeping it fresh enough to keep the listener interested. A tune about love and fate, Paul shows that his lyricism has taken no hit, and even if you peel away the backing of the drums and the choir, it's still stands incredibly strong in its own right. My favorite thing about this song is its playfulness-from the goody adlibs to the joy with which Simon seems to sing each verse, it seems like he is proving to us, and to himself, that he still has it.

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