Saturday, May 24, 2008

578. Paul Simon - Graceland (1986)

Track Listing

1. Boy In The Bubble
2. Graceland
3. I Know What I Know
4. Gumboots
5. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
6. You Can Call Me Al
7. Under African Skies
8. Homeless
9. Crazy Love Vol 2
10. All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints


We come to what is definitely one of the best albums of 1986 and one of the most original ones. Paul Simon in his middle age comes up with what is arguably the best album of his career, both in terms of originality and influence but also in the sheer quality of the tracks.

It is hard to define the album, is it a pop album with African influence or an album of South African music with a pop twist? The African elements are so upfront here that it is ridiculous to call it "African influence" but so is country music and Americana in general, and often in the same track and it all comes off sounding as pop. And this is the genius of the album.

The only thing that sometimes does not stand up to the test of time are the more poppy songs, like You Can Call Me Al or All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints, the more the African elements are up-front the better it sounds, however and the symbiosis of styles is so perfect that it is hard to understand why no one did it this way earlier.

Track Highlights

1. Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
2. The Boy In The Bubble
3. Graceland
4. Homeless

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Graceland was Paul Simon's highest charting album in the U.S. in many years, reaching #3 in the national Billboard charts, receiving a certification of 5xPlatinum by the RIAA and eventually selling over 14 million copies, making it the singer's most commercially successful album. Critics welcomed its eclectic mix of sounds and broad, quirky subject matter and it regularly shows up in critic polls and "recommended" lists. The album also helped to draw worldwide attention to the music of South Africa. The United World Chart listed Graceland as the 100th most successful album of all time.

In the Graceland Classic Albums video, Simon states that he considers the title track the best song he has ever written. A popular music video starring Simon and Chevy Chase was made for the hit song "You Can Call Me Al". Simon toured the album extensively, featuring many of the artists from the album in addition to exiled South Africans Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. A concert in Harare, Zimbabwe, was filmed for release as "The African Concert".

Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes:


Anonymous said...

If only I could have seen that tour.. Paul Simon, Hugh Masekela, ladysmith Black Mambazo AND Miriam Makeba?

Anonymous said...

I stopped liking this album so much when I found out how he treated some of the folks he "collaborated with". (stole from)
He ripped off Los Lobos.

Francisco Silva said...

Anon: I don't doubt any of that, but the music is still good, be it by Paul or Los Lobos. Yeah, he's probably a prick but he steals well.

Anonymous said...

The track he allegedy stole is the worst on this album anyway... (the myth of fingerprints)if he was really going to waste his time stealing he should have at least picked a los lobos track that didn't suck to tack on the end of this masterpiece.