Tangent Sunset

The History of Conscious Music by Alex Cosper

Kaleidoscopic Storytelling


Simon & Garfunkel seemed to take folk songwriting to a new level, by making it more kaleidoscopic. In 1965 their song "The Sound Of Silence" became "Sounds Of Silence" when they decided to add an eerie electric guitar line to the folk tune. It was an ethereal passage pointing to alienation in a world of glittering mythology. The song opened with the line "hello darkness, my old friend, I've come to talk with you again" and proceeded to explore loneliness and emptiness in a crowded world. The beautifully ambiguous lyrics allowed the listeners to paint their own colorful interpretations, but it clearly captured the spirit of the times with its curious intellect. That same year they rolled up the charts with a song about living on the road in "Homeward Bound."

The duo's focus on alienation became more obvious in "I Am A Rock," which talked about escaping friendships that cause pain. Another celebrated tune by the duo was "Mrs. Robinson," which was obviously written for the movie The Graduate. The song tapped into the movie plot, which dealt with moral questions about married professor/college student relationships. Simon & Garfunkel's most astonishing masterpiece, though, was "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in 1970, which was a long orchestral ballad in which the storyteller played the role of a hero offering to comfort a fallen lonely person.

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