Monday, July 19, 2010

13. Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

Counting down my favorite 25 albums of 1970:

Simon and Garfunkel - Bridge Over Troubled Water

I find this a very difficult album to rate. It's one of the first albums I ever owned, and the first album I ever memorized all the lyrics to. It's probably the one non-Beatles album I've listened to most frequently, and I haven't grown tired of it yet.

This familiarity makes it difficult for me to be objective. On one hand, it's easy to overrate songs like "Baby Driver" and "Why Don't You Write Me" simply because I know them so well. On the other hand, the sheer repetition makes it easy to forget that songs like "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "The Boxer" were once fresh.

In its cultural context, it was a phenomenally successful record: It's one of the best selling albums of the year, it spawned four hit singles, and it won the Grammy for best album. The fact that this album appealed to so many different people during such a culturally divisive era is an incredible feat. This broad appeal is, I think, attributable to it's timelessness; both thematically (no questions about what war is good for or references to Woodstock or tin soldiers and Nixon), and musically (no long jammy electric guitar solos or sitars). Ultimately, This album may sound "old" due to its constant radio airplay, but it doesn't sound "dated".

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