Monday, May 20, 2013

"Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel (1966)

Since I have completed my initial hundred LP review, I am dropping  the self-imposed restrictions I originally set for this project.  However, if something I spin still meets those original parameters, I’ll still weigh in on whether or not it’s an album or just a compilation of songs.  I'm also giving myself some limited veto authority over the random number generator.
Fun Fact: I have a theory that A Most Peculiar Man and I Am a Rock are different versions of the same story, told from a third person and first person point of view, respectively.
“I don’t know why I spend my time writing songs I can’t believe.”
My Overall Rating of the Tracks Separately:REQUIRED LISTENING (4/4 stars).  Seriously, if you haven’t heard every song on this LP, you owe it to yourself to check them out.
There is a definite arc to the Simon & Garfunkel catalogue.  They made: one folk record, two folk rock records and two psychedelic rock records.  Four of those records are required listening.  The folk LP is a good effort, but it didn’t all come together until their sophomore release – “Sounds of Silence.”
The song The Sound of Silence actually appears on both.  The two versions couldn’t paint a clearer picture of the surprising distance between folk and folk rock.  Turns out it’s not just about adding drums a more instrumentation; there’s a paradigm shift when it comes to mindset and attitude.  The folk sound of the early sixties was driven by innocence and hope with large amounts of naivete.  The sound that evolved into folk rock, on the other hand, usually drew from an attitude that was grounded, experienced and skeptical.  The noticeable change in the versions of The Sound of Silence comes from the way Paul Simon speaks the exact same lyrics – there is a heaviness to the remake that was not present the first go around.
Blessed and Richard Cory are two good examples of tracks that probably started as folk songs, but seem to have been repurposed into folk rock tunes.  They both carry a heavy dose of maturation and are delivered with a cynical snarl.
April Come She Will is really the only true folk song on “Sounds of Silence.”  It also happens to be the only song Art Garfunkel sings solo.  My guess is that Paul Simon was no longer doe-eyed enough to do justice to something so simple.  This track is very much the exception that proves the rule on “Sounds of Silence” – the sound had to grow as the artists did.
So, is it an album?  Yes.  The aforementioned heaviness runs through most everything, even in songs like We’ve Got a Groovey [sic] Thing Goin’.
Up next, "Harmony" by Three Dog Night.

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