Top Ten Songs by Paul Simon

10. Wartime Prayers

This song is from his new album, “Surprise,” and it is very touching. I think that the line, “But when the wounds are deep enough, and it’s all that we can bear, We wrap ourselves in prayer,” very accurately reflects the fact that ever since 9/11 our society has really turned more to God.

9. Kodachrome

Kodachrome was originally released in 1973 on the “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” album, but I had never heard it until I got “The Paul Simon Collection” a couple of years ago. This song instantly made me laugh as it starts out, “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” It’s a bouncy, fun song that seems really to just be about color photograph film. Now, being an English major, I am sure my college professors would prefer me to look for some metaphoric meaning in all of this. I am sure that I could derive something out of the line, “Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day,” perhaps something about how photography lets you see the world through rose-colored glasses? However, I prefer not to derive anything out of it, but to just smile and enjoy the song.

8. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes begins with an African chorus. There is just something about that deep sound that sends shivers down my spine. It is great.

7. That Was Your Mother

That Was Your Mother has a Cajun zydeco feel to it. This is not a popular Paul Simon song, but it is one of my favorites. It makes me want to dance. It reminds me of my mother-in-law, because she is from Louisiana, and for that reason, the title is strangely ironic to me.

6. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

This song is just classic Paul Simon. When I think of Paul Simon, this is what I think of- fun. When I was a little girl, I used to enjoy singing this song with my mom.

5. Cecilia

Cecilia is one of my favorites because it has this awesome use of percussion. I believe it has several different drums, as well as some sort of whistle that may actually just be from a person, and a background of clapping. It makes you want to clap along and start dancing. It is technically not just a Paul Simon song, as it is one of the songs produced from his partnership with Art Garfunkel. All in all, it is a great song.

4. The Sound of Silence

I firmly believe that Paul Simon is one of the greatest poets of our generation. Yes, poets. We are not living in an age when people sit around and read poetry all the time; they sing it. “The Sound of Silence” is maybe the best evidence I have of Paul Simon’s poetic genius. The sensory imagery he presents is intense, such as in the second verse, “Neath the halo of a streetlamp, I turned my collar to the cold and damp. When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light, split the night, and touched the sound of silence.” He personifies the neon light, as he says his eyes were “stabbed” by it. It gives life to the images of his words. In the musical sense, it is a beautiful song.

3. You Can Call Me Al

You Can Call Me Al is one of those songs that everyone loves to see someone sing at a Karaoke bar because everyone feels the incredible urge to join in at the chorus. Plus, it’s one of those songs that, even if you mess up the words or sing it out of key, it’s still a great song.

2. Father and Daughter

This song is from Paul Simon’s newest album, “Surprise.” I might as well be honest and admit that this song is a completely personal choice because, well, it made me cry. My father and I are very, very close, and I have always been a Daddy’s Girl, so this song just touched my heart. In the song, Paul Simon talks about how much he loves and admires his daughter. The last line of the chorus says, “There could never be a father who loved his daughter more than I love you.” It’s a classic feel-good song, but for every Daddy’s Girl out there and every Daddy who feels his little princess can do no wrong, I believe that this song will warm your heart too!

1. Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Originally released in 1972 on the “Paul Simon” self-titled album, and again in 1974 on “Live Rhymin’,” this song was later included on “The Paul Simon Collection” (a best of album) in 2002. This song is such a fun song. It is light-hearted and really makes you want to move. It is one of my favorite songs to listen to in the car, and I’ll get the head bobbing and steering wheel tapping going. This super fun song brings back many memories from my childhood, and I am sure that I am not the only one.

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