Saturday, December 15, 2012

Casting Shivering Shadows

Original Facebook post here.
Today's whole-album listen-through: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. I've been both laughing and crying with recognition at what was once easily my favorite S&G record. Though I long ago outgrew some of its earnest conceits and embarrassing lyrics (and that so-awful-it's-really-awful Dylan parody), I'm overjoyed to rediscover the sheer tactile pleasure of its whispering, chiming, finely etched acoustic sounds, and to feel again how deeply, irreversibly I absorbed it into my bones as an impressionable high school wannabe hippie (it explains why I responded so wholeheartedly to Fleet Foxes, I guess, not to mention Langley Schools Music Project). I can also hear in S&G's most consistently well-produced record the subtle, tasteful-to-a-fault soundscaper Simon would become in later records (One-Trick Pony, Rhythm of the Saints). Though my favorite track is "For Emily," the song above is the one that made me well up this time.

Tony Pennino The "Silent Night" overlapping with the newscast has a lot of resonance today.
David Barbour If you ask me, Bookends is far superior.
Rob Weinert-Kendt The songcraft is undoubtedly richer, more mature on BOOKENDS--Paul clearly learned some jazz chords in the interim. He'd also heard SGT.PEPPER, though, and I feel like the efforts to make a concept album, and to play with the studio (the synth stuff, the found and documentary audio material) actually detract from BOOKENDS' impact as an album. And while the album's wintry-New-York mood is impressive, the flaky, feathers-in-hair vibe of PARSLEY is, for better or worse, just closer to my heart.

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