Simon & Garfunkel are Folk Rock legends. Although this is clearly seen as their standout album, the album title refers to the situation between these two men who perform on this album. This album sold millions of copies globally and was in the charts for a very long time after release. Given the social and political impact around 1970 in the USA on the youth of the day, Simon & Garfunkel were seemingly in the right place at the right time, musically at least. Without further delay, let’s take a listen to this album and hear what it sounds like.
Bridge Over Troubled Water begins the album with a melodic piano that sounds super pretty. This song was written in light of the duo’s troubled relationship as a musical duo and was by Paul Simon for Art Garfunkel to sing. It is instantly awesome, and soon enough, singing emerges that is fine and excellent. It is a sad ballad, and this sounds really pretty and magical. A song of reassurance, the singing and piano playing are really perfectly made for each other. This isn’t too far away from the music of The Beach Boys, only less Pop oriented and more ballad based. The tune itself is really awesome and marvellous to listen to. The midsection gets louder, more dramatic and much more emotional. This is a fantastic listening experience, and Simon & Garfunkel do a great job here. The second half has an instrumental section briefly with strings and bass guitar parts, before going back into the amazing climax, with the two stars singing beautifully together. A great piece of music, and something well worth remembering. This isn’t a million miles away from Opera music, but still, it is very unique listening here. The outro is awesome. Mindblowingly good.
El Condor Pasa (If I Could) is a shorter piece with some awesome guitar plucking and a great deal of musical suspense on this tune. This sounds a lot like the Gustav Holst Planets orchestration which itself was Classical Music. Soon enough, some beautiful vocals emerge and the singing is amazing. There are some good flutes, strummed guitars and gorgeous vocals throughout. Simon & Garfunkel are musical legends and this tune is about situations that have tough choices at hand. A really decent three-minute-long piece, the instrumental section towards the end is really great, and it fades out nicely.
Cecilia begins with some cool percussion and handclaps, along with maracas. This is a song about said lady who is unfaithful and who a man needs back, oddly enough. This is a good stomp style piece, and it sounds really interesting, catchy and unique. This is an interesting listening experience, and the whole thing is really majestic and clever. The harmonies and solo section with a huge array of gorgeous instrumentation are definitely worth your time. A must hear album, and a fantastic listen every time. The vocals in particular are really awesome. A great effort, all the way through to the fade out.
Keep The Customer Satisfied begins with the phrase, “Gee, it’s good to be back home” and quickly launches into a really sweet and decent tune with dual acoustic guitars, great singing and a good piece of music throughout. There is a cool organ in this tune in the chorus. The singing and instrumentation perfectly match each other here, and the song itself is another solid gold winner. There is a nice bit of harmony based singing and yelping, along with brassy horns. The outro has very classy brass sections to conclude this song. Excellent.
So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright is a strange tune about a famous American architect. This is a weird piece lyrically, but it has some strings, bongos and acoustic guitar that sound brilliant. A good tribute to Frank Lloyd Wright, having said all that. There is a flute solo on this tune towards the middle. Again, this is a masterpiece of genius music. A strange ode to losing someone important to Simon & Garfunkel, this is pretty and again, essential listening. A brilliant tune to hear, worth your ears. A wonderful piece of music, but the outro is very gloomy. It fades out at the end.
The Boxer is a longer piece at five minutes long. It begins with gorgeous acoustic guitars and launches straight into an equally gorgeous ballad and piece of music. There is some interesting instrumentation present, and this doesn’t sound very different from The Beatles White Album, which was released two years earlier. It has some gorgeous harmony based singing throughout. This is less shrill than The Beach Boys and more consistent sounding than The Beatles in relation to singing. Near the middle is a gorgeous slide guitar solo that is pretty and emotional sounding. Soon enough, this tune returns to the harmony section and is followed by the poetic verses of the song. A cool, clever and beautiful effort. In the second half, this piece becomes more aggressive musically and is followed by more harmonies towards the end. This does sound gorgeous. A very decent listening experience, this tune gets loud and emotional towards the end, especially with the string section. A very good song. It ends with multi-tracked acoustic guitars, before ending quietly. Nice.
Baby Driver begins with some acoustic guitars and slide playing here. This quickly evolves into a seemingly autobiographical piece of music. There are more gorgeous harmonies throughout. The fact that this is miles better than anything made today means that this song must be heard by today’s generations. There are some trombone and saxophone solos present in the middle of this song, and this piece comes alive nicely. There are some awesome sounds throughout, and this has some interesting conclusions to it. A really cool listen nonetheless, this is brilliant music. There is a key change and tempo change right towards the end, with some vehicle sounds and a sample of TV dialogue to finish. Good stuff.
The Only Living Boy In New York begins with strummed acoustic guitars and calm vocals that sound smooth and reassuring. A simple and gorgeous piece of music, this music has singing about the weather reports and is also about smiling with one’s own company. This is another great tune, the harmonies near the middle of the song are amongst song of the best you will ever hear in your entire life. In the middle, some drum rolls enter and this returns to the song at hand. The mellow harmonies here are really brilliant and pretty to listen to. In the second half is a cool instrumental solo section with acoustic guitars, drums and organs, followed by those killer harmonies. A fantastic listen, and no doubt one of the greatest albums of all time. That’s how good this music is. Brilliant and fantastic. Enjoyable to the full.
Why Don’t You Write Me begins with some twangy guitar parts, piano and some unusual percussion. Simon & Garfunkel sing about waiting impatiently for a lover to reply to one’s letters in the mail, as this was a pre-internet era for long distance communication. This is a great poetic and pretty number. Soon into it is a brassy trombone solo that sounds brilliantly good. For all the tension and differences between Simon & Garfunkel, this is another amazing creation from the two of them. The guitar playing here is also welcome, and the whole tune is really cool and awesome listening. Another great song to enjoy. This album is very near perfect.
Bye Bye Love – Live at Memorial Auditorium, Burlington, VT – October 1968 is oddly placed onto this album, despite the fact that all the other cuts present are studio cuts. This begins with strummed acoustic guitars and a huge amount of cheering and clapping from the audience. This is a really decent and amazing listening experience, and the whole thing works wonderfully. Perfect Folk Pop is here, and this still sounds great. A tremendously consistent and amazing tune, this sounds super good as a live number. Simon & Garfunkel have created a song about saying goodbye to a lover, and hello to loneliness. A sad tune set to an upbeat set of chords, this wraps up quickly and the crowd cheers loudly for this. Excellent song.
Song For The Asking is the last piece here on this album and is mixed in from the last tune. It is a simple, gorgeous and beautiful piece of acoustic music that is about playing songs with friends, which is one of the greatest joys one can do in life. It has a sad string section to match this piece and is a great conclusion to a great album. Brilliant, yet sad music in this song. A great finish though.
This album is a great and monumental release, and it is simply one of the greatest albums of all time. No joke. No wonder it did so well musically in the charts, this is an excellent album about joy, heartbreak and everything in between, set to a simple and beautiful musical backdrop, based on Folk Music with acoustic guitars, tuneful singing and great arrangements of instrumentation. Should you listen to this release? Absolutely, it is a stunning and pretty album that everyone must hear, despite the fact that this was the last album by Simon & Garfunkel. Seek this out today.
A solid gold winner of an album.