On Second Thought
Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints

By: Ian Mathers

Posted 08/20/2007 - 10:57:05 AM by PlatypusQuest:
 I am so happy about this article. I grew up listening to this album with my brother and my parents and we know all the words to the album (that is, except for the Portuguese, of course). The Rhythm of the Saints has a special place in my heart and will always be one of my all-time favorite records. Thank you.
Posted 08/20/2007 - 11:29:20 AM by mfkennedy:
 Nicely done, Ian. I nodded in agreement to just about every point you brought up.
Posted 08/20/2007 - 12:29:14 PM by rasm0225:
 '...as far as singles I heard as a child go, “The Obvious Child” beats the holy hell out of “You Can Call Me Al.” ' Lyrically (which is a fair criteria on which to judge a Paul Simon single) I totally disagree. 'Al' is a brilliant set of lyrics. You just have to look past the video and dopey bass solo to hear them. And generally, the lyrics on Graceland are much better. I thought the album was a comedy when I heard it at the age of 12. All the bright sounds and catchy tunes. Now I realise it's a really depressed record dressed up like a pop record. Crazy Love vII is absolutely devastating.
Posted 08/20/2007 - 01:12:28 PM by traydeuce:
 Oh "You Can Call Me Al" is one of the most annoying songs I've ever heard. Brilliant set of lyrics my ass.
Posted 08/20/2007 - 02:38:06 PM by markrushton:
 This is one of my all-time favorites by any artist. I found the CD used in the early 1990s and I've probably listened to it many many hundreds of times. It's so cohesive as an album and mellow throughout. One of the best lyrics ever is in the chorus of the title track: "To overcome an obstacle or an enemy, To dominate the impossible in your life" - how can you not love that? Unfortunately, his work following this was a big letdown. I didn't care for 2000's You're The One at all and I found 2006's Surprise to be atrocious. Too bad. He still has a wonderful body of work from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, though.
Posted 08/20/2007 - 04:24:07 PM by lunaharpua:
 I’ve gotta agree with rasm0225 – “You Can Call Me Al” beats the hell out of “The Obvious Child”. While annoying to some (b/c of Chevy Chase, pennywhistle solo, bass solo, compressed horns, whatever else) it’s absolute ear candy to me, both lyrically and melodically. That song has so much depth in both categories...I swear hear new things in it every year. [Good choice for a future edition of On Second Thought.] “Obvious Child” is pretty awesome too though. Paul Simon really peaked like crazy in middle age. “Rhythm of the Saints” is sumblime. Well, except for “Proof” – now THAT’S an annoying song.
Posted 08/20/2007 - 06:19:03 PM by IanMathers:
 Before we even get to lyrics, guys, the drums on "The Obvious Child" are better than anything on Graceland. I like "Crazy Love Pt II" and "Gumboots" and the singles (yes, even "You Can Call Me Al"), but none of it is as good as even the least of RofS' songs. Yes, even "Proof."
Posted 08/20/2007 - 07:52:59 PM by raskolnikov:
 Paul Simon's late career is cultural imperialism disguised as music. He is a simpering dwarf who is still mad at his old bandmate who got all the chicks because he was taller and in the film version of Catch-22. Again, defending anything this artist has ever released while attacking great rock bands like Sonic Youth and Husker Du is inconceivable and would in a just world cost Mr. Mathers his writing credentials.
Posted 08/21/2007 - 02:10:09 PM by florenz6:
 Re: Raskolnikov (aka M´Orville??)- I´ve never been a huge fan of this album. And Graceland had also never been my cup of tea. But to reduce this part of his works as being "cultural imperialism" is so uttlerly dull. Using the rhythms of other parts of the world opened people´s ears for some new sound worlds. For example. But Rasky, our little dictator of good musical tastes, the master of quick and cliche-ridden responses, obviously likes to play truth again. Well, Rasky, I have never been into Sonic Youth as well, but I respect them for what they have done. One could do the same with Mr. Simon. Obviously you have occupied the CANON OF GREAT MUSIC. But people do like to find their own paths throug musical landscapes, making their own choices about what they love and hate. Fine with me. Dialogue is fine, preaching the truth is such a miserable game. Only the "converted" will listen.
Posted 08/21/2007 - 06:16:07 PM by raskolnikov:
 Herr Florenz6--I do not care about what or whom you respect. You have praised Eno on this site, which makes me not want to insult you--but come on! Paul Simon's music is horrendous and his lyrics are overwrought and condescending towards their subject matter in any of his various incarnations. Glibness is not a virtue except to this man...I'll take Dylan and Steely Dan and even the Stones between '68-'75 for some outstanding rockstar lyricism when I'm in the mood, instead of this troglodytic and grouchy midget anyday. Simon and Garfunkel were lightyears better than Simon's solo work to begin with, and how can you defend a man who plunders indigenous musical traditions on his own million-dollar albums while flagrantly underpaying these musicians on the tours they did with him? The man in the yellow hat can take many forms indeed.
Posted 08/22/2007 - 08:53:46 AM by florenz6:
 Here coem the boomerang: 1) If I would not listen to people´s music who sometime misbehave badly, what should I do with the great works of Miles Davis? For example. 2) Having such a bad picture of someone can easily affect the perception of his music. 3) Paul Simon´s collab with Brian Eno last year was not only a welcome return to form, the album he did before that one was a quiet good one, too. 4)I had to laugh when someone described the new (excellent!!!) Tunng albumn, "Good Arrows", as "Simon and Garfunkel" for the 21st century. Well, it´s not that far-fetched! 5) You have an old teacher´s attitude, Rasky! Don´t hesitate to follow your impulses to insult. No one takes it personally. How could one?
Posted 08/22/2007 - 10:14:46 AM by raskolnikov:
 I'll say it again--Simon deliberately underpaid African and South American musicians both in the studio and on tour while profiting from their sounds and arrangements. He is a douchebag, plain and simple.
Posted 08/22/2007 - 10:19:08 AM by florenz6:
 I dig it, but, well, say it once more, please!