Paul Simon Ralph Gleason - Essay

Ralph Gleason

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[Simon & Garfunkel's] songs are mainly poems of alienation, loneliness, and poignant disenchantment, with a few that are richly colorful, romantic love songs….

The deep sense of social alienation which was so shocking when Sounds of Silence first appeared, is still there. Simon has since written several songs with a wry humorous touch to them and some others which are ballads of sophisticated romance….

The thing is that Paul Simon's lyrics and the performance of them by Simon & Garfunkel reach out directly to the product of the generation and the credibility gaps to those cogs in the educational system who have begun to think, as well as to those who love music. Overs,… Fakin' It and Punky's Dilemma grow on me. They are excellent songs. Sounds of Silence, I Am a Rock and Poem on an Underground Wall are hymns of our time. And Feelin' Groovy, At the Zoo and Cloudy are that combination of pure fun and poignancy that marks the best American ballads….

If any of the new generation of songwriters is going to write a musical, Paul Simon is the most likely. He has the poem-song style under control, a frightening record of good songs and a visionary gift combining humor and biting insights that could make a great success of a musical score.

Ralph Gleason, "The Artistry of Simon and Garfunkel," in Jazz & Pop (© 1968 by Jazz Press Inc.; reprinted by permission of the author), Vol. 7, No. 7, July, 1968, p. 26.