Paul Simon DAVID DALTON and LENNY KAYE - Essay

DAVID DALTON and LENNY KAYE

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["The Sounds of Silence"] was steeped in existential solitude….

The elaborations [on the alienation theme] were offered through "I Am A Rock," and "Somewhere They Can't Find Me," and "Blessed," lifting an angry cry of "Oh Lord, why have you forsaken me?" Thrust up as voices of a New Generation, [Simon and Garfunkel] might have pursued this spartan fatalism had not the somber kaleidoscope beauty of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme shifted their emphasis into realms less tied to the psyche. From himself, Simon turned to others, taking his cue not so much from archetype as from individuals. He broadened the base of his images, and in such outings as "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)" and "A Simple Desultory Phillipic" toyed with his own leanings toward serious statement, sacrificing none of the songs' emotional intent. He seemed cheerier, even as "Homeward Bound" drew on the privations of a tired musician, and "A Dangling Conversation" juxtaposed Robert Frost against Emily Dickinson in the manner of "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night."…

Simon delved into his music toward quirky, personal songs that unraveled life's secrets with a note of wry humor and forgiving perspective, often arranged around simple exotic folk melodies. (p. 249)

[Simon has followed a more journey man path than Garfunkel], solo albums encompassing reggae and New Orleans gospel, producing old Peruvian friends Urubamba …, writing with the same faultless Kodachrome ability that makes him one of the most intelligent, accessible, and astutely pop craftsmen in the field of music today. (p. 250)

David Dalton and Lenny Kaye, "Comp. Lit.," in their Rock 100 (copyright © 1977 by David Dalton and Lenny Kaye; used by permission of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.), Grosset & Dunlap, 1977, pp. 247-50.∗