Paul Simon Bruce Pollock - Essay

Bruce Pollock

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

While Bob Dylan stands as the central figure, the one who woke this sleeping giant of a generation determined not to go silent, none of the other poet laureates of the era addressed himself to all of us middle-class cowboys as directly as Paul Simon….

From "Homeward Bound" to "Dangling Conversations" to "Mrs. Robinson," Simon's songs mirrored the alienation, malaise, and despair of the era, but did so melodiously, with a good beat, so you could dance to them. (p. 43)

Combining further study with a less frenetic performing pace, he's produced three fine albums—Paul Simon (1971), There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973), and Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)—each one revealing a variety of influences, each one musically rich as well as emotionally complex…. Not only is he producing songs of quality, but he's reminding us who we are, as he sadly reflects on the past, slyly flirts with affairs, and fears (but secretly hopes) he might still someday let go….

Like the rest of us, Paul Simon has finally passed through adolescence, long considered a terminal condition not only of rock 'n' roll but also of the generation that came to majority in the Sixties. That generation became hooked on rock music as a way of receiving its essential data. And today these same listeners, older and somewhat wiser, continue to respond to Simon and to those other artists who have arrived at a more mature perspective and are able to mirror in their works something beyond pop platitudes. (p. 44)

Bruce Pollock, "Paul Simon: Survivor from the Sixties," in Saturday Review (copyright © 1976 by Saturday Review; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Vol. 3, No. 18, June 12, 1976, pp. 43, 44, 59.