Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Spirit Voice: Paul Simon

We sailed up a river wide as a sea
And slept on the banks
On the leaves of a banyan tree
And all of these spirit voices rule the night

Some stories are magical, meant to be sung
Songs from the mouth of the river
When the world was young
And all of these spirit voices rule the night
- "Spirit Voices"

I have been a fan of Paul Simon’s music as long as I can remember, starting with Simon and Garfunkel and all throughout my young life into the present (Like many folks, I first heard his music on the soundtrack of film The Graduate and it was like a gut punch). I have always felt as if Simon’s voice and lyrics were my spiritual conduit - whose music and art spoke to me in the deepest ways. I’m not sure what I have in common with him as human beings, (I’ve read many interviews over the years and he does seem to be as neurotic and insecure as I. I certainly can’t think of an artist whose work feels closer to my personal sensibilities.  His lyrics, whether they are about love, relationships, or even political ideology seem to mirror my own thoughts. I always felt as if he had a window into my head. Of course his poetic lyricism is far, far beyond what I could ever articulate.

The smartest people in the world
Had gathered in Los Angeles
To analyze the love affair
And possibly unscramble us
And we sat among our photographs
Examined everyone
And in the end, we compromised
And met the morning sun
-  "Think Too Much"
Despite the hit songs everyone knows (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, You can Call me Al, etc.) on many tunes he is capable of some the most introspective words I’ve ever heard. And I think that’s where my love of his art comes from: from the very beginning, he’s never been afraid to wear his heart on his sleeve. And for me, that’s about as courageous as it gets.