Minstrels of old still relevant to today’s ears

By on January 22, 2013


In today’s society, music has become a less poetic art form. At least, according to me, an English major. Poetry is an incredible art form that has slowly been pushed out of popularity. Of course, among specific groups of people and thinkers, poetry still remains popular. And I happen to be one of those nerds that really loves hearing and reading poetry.

Which is why the majority of what plays on my iPod is music that not only has a good melody, but has poetic lyrics. The first example to come to mind is the due, Simon and Garfunkel.

Paul Simon had an ability to write about topics in a way that lead him to become one the most well-known songwriters. Unfortunately, Simon and Garfunkel have lost popularity greatly. The song that got me interested in Simon and Garfunkel was “Richard Cory,” which is based on the Edwin Arlington Robinson poem by the same title. But the song that really made me addicted to their poetic and folky style was “Hazy Shade of Winter.” And I could list a ton more that confirmed and reconfirmed my love for their music.

A breath-taking aspect of the lyrics is the way Simon presents political material. “He Was My Brother” brings in aspects of the Civil Rights Movement. The song mirrors the Freedom Writers, and goes on to say, “they shot my brother dead because he hated what was wrong.” And, that line gets me every time. Another song “The Church is Burning” deals with harsh issues associated with the Klu Klux Klan.

I would enjoy hearing these songs more on the radio in order to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. Actually, I wish I heard an increase of their music in general since most of the music on the radio isn’t always the best.

But I do hear their songs on the radio sometimes, granted, and when I do hear it, it’s usually on the oldies channels. It’s also usually either one of two songs: “Sounds of Silence” or “Mrs. Robinson,” which is known from the movie “The Graduate”. Every now and then, I’ll even catch a cover of “Mrs. Robinson” playing, which obviously isn’t as great as Simon and Garfunkel’s version.

The most recently covered Simon and Garfunkel has been “The Boxer,” performed by Mumford and Sons, featuring Paul Simon. When I first heard that they had done a cover, I was skeptical, though I must admit that I enjoyed the way Mumford and Sons performed it.

The few friends of mine that listen to Mumford and Sons all came and told me they heard a song with Paul Simon in it. I was quick to interrupt and let them know it’s a cover, which gave me the perfect leeway into making them listen to the original song, and then more Simon and Garfunkel songs.

Anytime I go into a friendship, I contaminate my friend with references and quotes until they begin listening and eventually become fellow addicts, which I can only assume is not a bad thing.

Laurie Christolear
Staff Writer

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