Posts Tagged ‘Paul Simon’

Treasures Buried In The Earth

April 18, 2009

It’s another brilliant day here in Southern Ontario and I’ve decided to make a playlist in the great radition of muic lovers everywhere.  Of course this used to be a mixtape, then mix CD, but now it’s an iPod playlist.  Some criteria:

1) The list will be 17 songs long. This is because its April 17th as I’m writing the post, and I remember that most of my exam time mix CD’s were that long.

2) Only one song per band. With the sheer number of groups in my collection it’s only fair.

3) At least 50% Cancon because I’m a good citizen. Well I guess in this case it’ll be at least 53% because I’ll have to include 9 Candian songs out of 17.

4) Everything in my collection is eligible regardless of genre, time, nationality, or personal back story. 

Now the list:

Is this Love? – Clap Your Hands and Say Yeah

When I first heard this band I wasn’t sure what to think of them.  Their singing isn’t what would traditionally be considered high caliber. It’s a little different than most. Nevermind that though, the song is great.  It’s a perfect way to kick off a warm spring day.

Lovesong – The Cure

Many of my friends are into The Cure.  They are one of those bands that people just seem to instantly love when they hear them.  This song, as the title indicates, is a classic love song, though in a style not always associated with romantic overtones.  I am convinced that The Cure are a band that would fit seamlessly into today’s indie music scene if they were brand new.

I Must Belong Somewhere – Bright Eyes

I believe I mentioned this song in one of my snow shovelling conversations on the podcast.  It is equally suitable now.  The simplicity of the melody and message allow your mind to wrap around the intersting lyrics.  It feels like a song that’s lounging on the porch.

Throwing It All Away – Genesis

Speaking of songs that lounge about, this classic Genesis tune displays the conplexity of a dysfuntional relationship. As someone who’s been there this song is almost liberating.  The positive vibe of the music is contrasted by Phil’s obvious sadness.  He knows that this is it, but isn’t sure what to do.  The common arguments: Who will light the darkness? Who will hold your hand? Who will find you the answers when you don’t understand? But he brings it full circle with the classic: Late at night when you call my name the only sound you’ll hear, is the sound of your voice calling, calling after me.

Emily Carr – The Wheat Pool

The first Canadian band (remember I owe you at least 8 more) brings a beautiful tune.  It’s such an effortless song by a great emerging band.  It contains stories about life, regular old life.  Road tripping across the prairies demands this song. Watch out for their next album due out within the year I believe. 

Wondering Where The Lions Are – Bruce Cockburn

Want to take a stroll on a nice day?  This song should set your gait for you.  Bruce strikes me as the kind of person whose spent a lot of sunny days outside, soaking in the atmosphere.  Wondering Where The Lions Are is a Canadian classic.  I think the line some kinda ecstasy got a hold on me is a perfect fit for this list.

Up On Cripple CreekThe Band

I’m counting this as a Canadian track because of the Canadian content in the group.  The Band were leaders in popularizing very rootsy rock from the southern US.  This song, a bit of a tall tale about nearly perfect love, Up On Cripple Creek is ideal for working on your car, building a fence, or hosting a BBQ. It just makes everything seem a little more effortless.

Where There’s a Will There’s a Whale Bone – Islands

Yesterday I dragged out my hockey net and spent an hour taking shots.  As soon as this song came on my attempts became harder and more deliberate. If I was a professional baseball pitcher this would be my entrance music.  I don’t know why I failed to realize the potential of this song for motivation, but it’s now part of my pre-sports listening.  Hard to argue with a song that mentions whale bone repeatedly.

Lost! – Coldplay

Please note this is the alternative version and not the original album one.  This is another great motivating song.  The lyrics really tell the tale: Just because I’m losing doesn’t mean I’m lost.  It should probably be in a sports movie right at the point that the underdohas reached rock bottom and is working hard to get back up.  It’s a great metaphor for my basketball team (now 0-10) as we try to bounce back in the last third of the season.  Spring means rebirth, so does this song.

Middle of Nowhere – Hot Hot Heat

This B.C. based indie band has given the world a catchy song about taking off to nowhere.  To give you something to go on, when I go off, back to the middle of nowhere

Mother and Child Reunion – Paul Simon

Any hope of seeing an S & G song are dashed by this track.  I absolutely love the organ in this song.  Paul Simon has a way of creating a song that is so full and rich without overcomplicating it.  This song, with it’s kind of bizarre lyrics is just such a song.  I’m swaying back and forth at the thought of it.

Cause = Time – Broken Social Scene

Probably my favourite BSS song for it’s up tempo beat and cynical lyrics.  I think what makes the band so great is there willingness to just try new ideas and be a bit wild in their songwriting.  In the end though this song is just great for rolling down the street with the windows down.

Something On The Tragically Hip

With the NHL Playoffs on I might’ve picked a couple of other Hip tunes for this list, but this is the one I like most for the context.  It strikes a nice balance between a rocking beat and a laid back feeling.  Much like Up On Cripple Creek  this song is appropriate for a myriad of outdoor activities.

 I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty

Maybe my head is filled with a need to fight back, but I’m including another song with a strong message for the underdog. You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.

My Old Self – Wide Mouth Mason

Some songs are just so nostalgic you can’t ever escape them.  Pretty much anything from the first WMM album is that way for me.  It doesn’t hurt that this song puts me in the mood to be outisde, dancing around, or both.  I’m up in the kitchen singing, momma’s out in the backyard, daddy’s downstairs digging a grave.

 The Needle Has Landed – Neko Case

Perhaps this song would be better suited to an evening under the stars, but I like it in this list.  I think I could eat ice cream while listening to Neko Case and it’d feel like heaven.

In Perfect Time – Jill Barber

We come to a fitting end with a song about loss and life.   This Jill Barber song is my favourite of her work.  I would blame feeling down on the weather if I had no other reason to be. Thankfully that sentence does not apply to me today. I’m off to enjoy the sun.

Don’t Forget to Write

January 11, 2009

I met my old lover on the street last night, she seemed so glad to see me I just smiled, and we talked about some old times and we drank ourselves some beer, still crazy after all these years.

Paul Simon

Still Crazy After All These Years

It’s hard to believe that Paul Simon is so old now.  He once sang about being 21 years old, and was still a young man when he wrote the song quoted above.  I have included it because it is a clue to the topic of Monday’s podcast. You’ll just have to listen to find out. Mr. Simon has always been a hero of mine. His songwriting is unsurpassed. I consider him the model for how to make great music. I don’t directly copy his style, but I look at his willingness to expand his musical vision and embrace other ideas to improve his own songwriting.  He is also capable of capturing a feeling, a mood, or a scene in his lyrics in an authentic and dynamic way.  Hearing a Paul Simon penned song means genuinely stepping into the experience of another person to live their life for a few moments.  He maintains a thread of wit and satire in many of his songs, from the social commentary of A Most Peculiar Man and Keep the Customer Satisfied to the pop culture critique of A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert Macnamara’d Into Submission) or the bitter You Don’t Know Where Your Interest Lies.  Although his career has waned in recent years he is a songwriter and performer who will continue to influence others as long as the radio keeps playing Sound of Silence and Cecilia.

With the snow falling again here in Hamilton, for perhaps the twentieth time this year, I am using this post to remind you of an important event. Namely the first ever The Alder Fork From Worst to First Poetry Contest. All the gory details can be found here. In the spirit of providing you with inspiration I am including the following poem. It is called Letters and tells the tale of two lovers separated by war.  It is from a collection of poems about life in Canada. Enjoy.

Letters

You begged me to stay here
To forget my heroic dreams
Because love was more important
But I didn’t believe you
I was a man
I had a mission
I had honour
I am proud and I believe
That I cannot fail
And now I have
Not only my nation
Not only my comrades
Not only my self
But most painfully you
As we stood alone
Counting the hours
While you cried and insisted
I promised
That I was a man
Who would return to you
Because I was wise
And I was strong
And my faith and my pride
Would carry me far
But it did not
And for that I am sorry

I begged you to stay
To give up on your dreams
For our love was important
Enough to forget pride
I was a girl
I had no secrets
I was innocent but not naïve
I did not suffer
And now I have
Not only for loss
Not only for love
Not only for me
But for you
I can see all your life
No longer before you
I once cried and insisted
I now sit alone
You didn’t come back to me
I was your life
But you followed your dream
You stayed with your faith
But it took all your strength
Stole it away from you
Left you with nothing
I should’ve tried harder
And for that I am sorry