Beach Music: Graceland

I feel like “beach music” sounds a bit degrading, but I mean it in the best way possible. When I go to the beach I just lie there looking at the waves for hours doing nothing. I bring my portable speaker, put on an album and just listen and space out. It’s actually pretty concentrated music listening time.

Sidenote: I am a HUGE believer in concentrated music listening time. I think it’s super important to occasionally stop what you’re doing and actually LISTEN. Listen to the harmonies, the bassline, the drums, the timbre of the singer’s voice etc. We have a bit of an epidemic of listening to music only as background music. I think it partly has to do with the ease with which we can access and play digital music. We just shuffle a playlist while working or cooking or showering or driving etc. In the days of vinyl it took more time and physical effort to listen to something, and so we were more focused on the music. This whole phenomenon also contributes to an album-less culture. We don’t listen to full albums anymore since the invention of digital music. Anyways. I wrote an article about this recently for my school’s newspaper. I will post it.

Back to Paul Simon. Today at the beach I listened through most of Graceland. Paul Simon has been touring and working with a group of African drummers and back-up singers for many years now, and their presence on Graceland is really what gives the album the slightly bouncy and extremely happy mildly sacred feeling. It was really perfect for the waves and wind.

My favorite lines from the album:

  • “A man walks down the street / It’s a street in a strange world / Maybe it’s the Third World / Maybe it’s his first time around” – You Can Call Me Al
  • “She got diamonds on the soles of her shoes / Well that’s one way to lose these walking blues” – Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes
  • “The poor boy changes clothes / And puts on aftershave / To compensate for his ordinary shoes” – Diamonds of the Soles of Her Shoes
  • “There is a girl in New York City / Who calls herself the human trampoline / And sometimes when I’m falling, flying / Or tumbling in turmoil I say / Oh, so this is what she means / She means we’re bouncing into Graceland” – Graceland

Paul Simon’s lyrics are actually really funny sometimes. They’re lighthearted and amusing but also poetic genius. Can’t really get better than that.

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