Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"I get the news I need on the weather report."

The Song: "The Only Living Boy in New York," Simon & Garfunkel. Words & music by Paul Simon. Track 8 of Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970.
When/how acquired: Purchased LP, c. 1981.
Listen/watch here.

This song's being used in a TV commercial for something, which bothers me. Paul Simon can't possibly need the money that much, can he? I know he has young children, but couldn't have have sold them "At the Zoo" instead?

It's winter break for the Maine public schools this week, which means that anyone who can afford it has left the state for warmer climes. The weather report's been important over the last week or so, as we've swung from thaw to deep freeze and back again. The current temperature is 9F. By this afternoon, we'll have broken the freezing mark, and it's supposed to hit 40F over the weekend. These things matter when you have a dog to walk.

I own a CD set of Simon & Garfunkel's studio albums — only three CDs, as they only released five albums (Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.; Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme; Bookends; and Bridge Over Troubled Water). Of them, Bridge Over Troubled Water is probably the album I listen to least, and I'm not sure why that is. It feels jumbled and distracted, transitional in many ways, a grab bag in which the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

This is the song that stands out for me, the one I go back to, and I find new things in it every time. The story is that Paul Simon wrote it for Art Garfunkel, when he was leaving to shoot Catch-22. Someone is leaving, and the singer is the person left; it's a lonely song, but it's also a blessing.

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