Bridge Over Troubled Water, part I



And so, we begin another project. This time it's the brilliant album by Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Since this is going to be a major event, and a great challenge, I thought I'd start blogging about it, starting with my general thoughts about the album.

In 1970, when BOTW was released, I was only six years old. Seems strange to see that number in front of me, I hadn't really figured it until now, I thought I was more like eight. I remember listening to it a lot, seems like it could have been daily. Sometimes I'd listen to it alone under headphones -- big, ungainly, late 60s headphones that pinned your ears to your head -- sometimes I'd listen with my brothers and sister.

We learned every word, which was easy, because they were printed on the back of the album jacket, and sang along. We'd argue about who got to sing Simon and who got to sing Garfunkel. Basically, everyone wanted to sing the lead.

The music spoke to me, not in the poetic verse sort of way that Paul Simon is known for, but on a much more basic level, I liked it because it was fun and it appealed to me on an emotional level. Even if you didn't understand a word of English, you'd still be able to find the emotion in each song, and it runs the gamut from the heights of elation to the depths of loneliness and despair.

So now, 38 years later I find myself singing that album again, only this time there's no argument about who gets to sing lead, some songs are right up my musical alley, some need to be sung by either Nature or Jeff. In fact, I can hear no other voice but Nature's on So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright, I know he'll sing it beautifully, and I am very much looking forward to hearing Jeff sing the title track.

And, at 43 years old I can finally hear some of the things in the lyrics I missed the first time around. For example, this excerpt from Baby Driver:
There's no one home,
we're all alone
c'mon to my room and play
yes, we can play
I'm not talkin' about your pigtails,
but I'm talkin' about your sex appeal...
Those lyrics went completely over my head. At six or seven years old, those words mean exactly what they say, "C'mon to my room and play," suggests an afternoon with Legos, and sex appeal was something that toothpaste was supposed to give you, or so the TV told me.

The Boxer has a whole different meaning to me now. At six it was a song about a boxer, at 43 it's a song about a man -- any man. I find more and more in the lyrics each time I listen to them, each song is a little jewel.

I am really looking forward to this project. BOTW was and remains one of my favorite albums of all time, and getting to play and sing these songs with my friends and colleagues is truly a dream come true!


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Comments

Jen said…
I'm beyond excited about this... working on finding a babysitter as we speak. :)

BOTW is one of my favorite albums; it was a daily listening staple for me through much of high school. (Guess how popular THAT was in the early 1990's)

Can't wait.
Mike Sawin said…
I SO want to make it to this show, but it is nearly impossible for me to get coverage for work.
Cari said…
I look forward to this with the shaky-knee anticipation of a naughty, naughty school girl. Meow!

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