Paul Simon


I was thrilled to get a chance to write for The RS 500 project, an intimate, intelligent, and fierce critical reckoning with Rolling Stone’s kind of silly list of the greatest rock records in history. I took on Paul Simon’s 1972 Paul Simon, one of my favorite records. Or it was. To be perfectly frank, I feel like the seams show on this a bit, but I think it was on to something.

Here’s a link to the piece – and the RS 500 project – and here’s a chunk of the brief essay. Extra incentive: you’ll learn what “Mother and Child Reunion” means.

The ability to be romantic and adopt a philosophical posture toward the dissipation of our youth is a stupendously privileged thing in which to engage. We often—and here “we” means a lot of middle class, literary kids like me—ache in some stupid, forlorn, bad-poetry way, contriving a sense of sentimentality in the moment. This clouds reality, though. The knock-off Keatsian appreciation of the passing moment obscures what is passing. Time, life, sure, but in this context friendship. For years that’s how I approached my history with this dear old friend. The point became the poetic echo of a lost friendship. The loss of the friendship became the point of the friendship.

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