DU Album of the Day: "Graceland" Paul Simon [View all]
It's been 25 years (really!) since Rhymin' Simon released this album during a crossroads in his personal life. His marriage to Carrie Fisher had ended, and he went to apartheid-dominated South Africa to sample the rhythms and ways of African music, which heavily influenced many tracks on this album. Was it just another example of the plunder plundering of another culture's music by the white man, or an homage to that music bringing it to a wider audience? Critics have been going back and forth on this, as well as on the question of whether going to South Africa in the mid-1980s was a co-optation of the artist by an evil regime.
But, like Dave Brubeck and his "Jazz Mission to Moscow," the music Simon produced has stood the test of time. Yeah, there's the silliness of "You Can Call Me Al," but who says popular music has to be relentlessly serious? There are, as always with Paul Simon, lyrics that make you stop and think, the expression of feelings and experiences by a man who maybe thinks too much about the events of his life. But that's part of the risk of being a poet. The music, though, can take the melancholy edge off of even the most poignant experience, as in the album's title track, a road trip with his son to the Presley Estate Graceland during a custodial visit. Even at his lowest point, amid all the self doubt and the feelings of failure and betrayal, "Maybe I've a reason to believe we all will be received in Graceland."
1. The Boy In The Bubble
3. I Know What I Know
5. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
6. You Can Call Me Al
7. Under African Skies
9. Crazy Love, Vol II
10. That Was Your Mother
11. All Around The World, or, The Myth Of