Arachnophonia: Simon & Garfunkel “Bridge Over Troubled Water”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student worker Colin (class of 2021) and features Bridge Over Troubled Water a classic Simon & Garfunkel album first released in January 1970. Thanks, Colin!

Simon & Garfunkel

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Bridge Over Troubled Water

Bridge Over Troubled Water is Simon & Garfunkel’s fifth and final studio album and widely regarded as their best work. Bridge Over Troubled Water hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 in March 1970 and remained there for 10 weeks, sold over 8 million records in the United States, and also earned a Grammy award for Album of the Year in 1971.

Bridge Over Troubled Water is described as the duo’s “‘most effortless album and their most ambitious.’” The album is an eclectic mix of multiple genres, such as rock, jazz, R&B, and gospel, which formed a unique “individual” sound that was met with both acclaim and criticism. Riding the enormous success of their previous album, Bookends, Simon & Garfunkel established themselves as one of the greatest rock duos in the world at the time, before splitting up shortly after the album’s release.

Baby Driver / The Boxer 45

The album has two notable songs that I particularly like and recommend. “The Boxer” is a folk rock selection, and is a narrative, first-person lament that outlines the character of a boxer. The song describes the singer’s struggle to overcome poverty and loneliness, before crafting the boxer character as a metaphor for his life, exhibited in the lyrics “I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.” “The Boxer” was popularized in the instrumental world due to Drum Corps International’s premier corps, the Bluecoats, and their 2008 production entitled “The Knockout,” in which the corps plays and sings excerpts of “The Boxer.” The Bluecoats’s interpretation of the song is widely recognized as one of the most popular segments of any DCI show in history, and is frequently performed by the corps while they tour over the summer.

The second song I recommend is entitled “Baby Driver.” This song played no part in the naming of 2017’s hit movie Baby Driver, but it was featured in the film. The song features an upbeat, rock vibe that sounds quite similar to The Beach Boys, and “Baby Driver” is sure to stick in your head hours after listening to it.

Arachnophonia: Beck “Morning Phase”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student worker Colin (class of 2021) and features the Grammy award winning ninth studio album by Beck. Thanks, Colin!

Beck

Morning Phase

Beck - Morning Phase

Released in 2014, Beck’s Morning Phase was a highly anticipated album after years of rumors surrounding its creation, and after news struck that Beck had signed with the incredibly famous Capitol Records. Morning Phase has been noted to sound very similar to Beck’s previous album, Sea Change, as both offer a melancholy and detached sound that Beck feared would drag on listeners’ ears. However, Morning Phase found itself to be widely regarded as Beck’s finest work, and the album earned the coveted Album of the Year Award at the 2015 Grammy Awards.

Beck

Morning Phase is essentially a commentary on what is black and white in the world, and what one should do when the world seems to be crumbling down. The album offers bright guitar playing, beautiful orchestral arrangements, layered vocals, and masterful percussion, all which culminate in each song to create a grand experience that meet many critics’ praise. Particularly interesting on this album is the song “Wave,” which features many of the elements previously stated of the album, and is a wonderful piece to listen to when one just needs to chill out.

Arachnophonia: Simon & Garfunkel “Bookends”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student worker, Aly (class of 2018) and features Simon & Garfunkel’s fourth studio album released in 1968, Bookends. Thanks, Aly!

Simon & Garfunkel

Bookends

Simon & Garfunkel - Bookends

I was re-shelving CDs recently while working a slow evening shift at the music library when I came across a Simon and Garfunkel CD. It immediately brought me back to a few years ago, when I went through a “phase” of folk rock, listening to the iconic duo, as well as a few other legends such as Cat Stevens. I then browsed our collection of Simon and Garfunkel selections, and soon discovered that the library offers almost their entire discography.

My all-time favorite album of theirs is Bookends. In my opinion, the 1968 album was released right in the “sweet spot” of Simon and Garfunkel’s musical career. It featured the quirky, iconic single we all know love, “Mrs. Robinson“, from the 1967 movie The Graduate. Some more of the duo’s greatest hits would come later, such as “Bridge Over Troubled Water“, arguably their best-known song. (Fun fact: “The Boxer” would also come in their following album, and Mumford and Sons has a great modern cover of this piece.)

The Graduate soundtrack

My personal favorite off the album is “Old Friends“, which sounds the best when listened to immediately before the closing theme of the album, “Bookends“, since the two songs seamlessly flow into each other. Appropriately, the album starts and ends with this theme, featuring simple harmonies and rich major-7 acoustic runs that could lull you into a peaceful relaxation.

Arachnophonia: Simon & Garfunkel “The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970”

Editor’s note: Arachnophonia is a regular feature on our blog where members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia is by Music Library student library worker Emma (class of 2021). Her selection is part of a multi-disc CD set of works by American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. Thanks, Emma!

Simon and Garfunkel

The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970

My CD of choice (from this set): Simon and Garfunkel – Sounds of Silence

I love modern music and radio pop just as much as the next person, but sometimes its nice to listen to things that don’t have auto tuning or heavy bass constantly blaring in the background. Simon and Garfunkel have special place in my heart because I can remember as a little girl hearing my dad play their songs in the car, and my sister singing along. Of course, I wanted to be “cool” like my older sister, so I would dance and act as if I knew exactly what the lyrics were saying. However, as I grew up and develop a better appreciation for good music, I realized just how good these songs are.

Some of my favorite songs off the set are “Cecilia” (I’m a little biased considering Cecilia is my middle name), “Mrs. Robinson,” and “The Boxer.” They are each so different, but so powerful. Their music has a way of making you want to dance around your room and sing like no one is listening, but a lot of songs also evoke a certain poetry and emotion that show just how talented these men were/are at writing and producing music. Although some of the songs deal with serious topics, the way they are written is beautiful, but they’re easy to listen to and they’re very catchy.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop listening to this album, because it’s timeless. Songs on the radio today come and go, but the music of past generations will never get old.

Arachnophonia: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Colette (class of 2017), and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album. Thanks, Colette!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

This album has been one of my favorites since high school. Two years after “For Emma, Forever Ago” was released in 2008, Bon Iver’s sophomore release was this self-titled album.

“Holocene” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The intro features intricately woven electric/acoustic guitars and vibes. While the beginning of the song is gentle and almost mesmerizing, by the time the chorus rolls around, the song picks up. The chorus lyrics are not your typical “pop” chorus:

And at once I knew I was not magnificent
Huddled far from the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
And I could see for miles, miles, miles

Justin Vernon

A wintry shot of Bon Iver’s frontman, Justin Vernon

“Towers” is also a favorite. This tune demonstrates the poetic nature of the group’s lyrics. The lyrics are a rhyming poem, which detail the process of falling in, then out of love. Some of my favorites include:

From the faun forever gone
in the towers of your honeycomb
I’d a tore your hair out just to climb back darling
when you’re filling out your only form
can you tell that itʼs just ceremon’
now you’ve added up to what you’re from

If you’re looking for a folk/indie album that’s not like the rest, check out Bon Iver’s “Bon Iver”.

Holocene cover

Cover for the 12″ single release of “Holocene”

Spider Sounds: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Liza (class of 2017) and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver”. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Liza!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

If you haven’t heard of Bon Iver before, you can already get a feeling of their music with a glimpse at this album’s cover artwork.
Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded by the singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best New Alternative Music Album for Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

Differentiating himself from the typical sounds of “folk,” Vernon combined chamber pop with an edge to create his own sounds from scratch. His soulful voice remains a unique characteristic that no other singer sounds like; he evokes an earthy virtuosic voice that you can easily get lost in when listening to his lyrics.

The album is composed of 10 songs, each representing a place. In particular, “Holocene,” is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its ability to trigger dozens of emotions within seconds. I would recommend listening to Bon Iver when you’re in a “chill” and relaxed mood or even when you’re studying, so come by the Parsons Music Library to check it out!

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Sufjan Stevens “Come On Feel The Illinoise”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” is by Colette, one of our student workers, and features a 2005 album by critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Thanks, Colette!

Sufjan Stevens

Come On Feel The Illinoise

Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise

After his first state themed album, Greetings From Michigan (2003), Sufjan Stevens turned out yet another excellent state themed collection in 2005. Known for his use of varied instruments including trumpets, vibraphones, banjos, and others, Come On Feel The Illinoise is a classic Sufjan creation.

Some of my favorite tracks include:

“The predatory wasp of the Palisades is out to get us!”
The feeling of this song works directly against the wackiness of the title — it is sincere, with incredible and heartfelt lyrics.

and

“John Wayne Gacy, Jr.”
This song is about — you guessed it — the famous serial killer. Sufjan does a masterful job describing and humanizing Gacy, and ends with the line:
“And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid”

This line exemplifies Sufjan’s skills as a lyricist. The entire album has such a wonderful motion to it, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is a Sufjan Stevens fan, or anyone looking to listen to something new.

Come visit the Parsons Music Library and discover what we have available!

Spider Sounds: Simon & Garfunkel “Live 1969”

Editor’s Note:“Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about CDs (or other items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection). The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information. Today’s post is by Cate, one of Parsons Music Library’s student workers and features a classic live album by Simon & Garfunkel. Thanks, Cate!

Simon & Garfunkel

Live 1969

Simon & Garfunkel - Live 1969

I have a special liking for Simon and Garfunkel. They were one of the few artists my parents could agree on, so they made up much of the soundtrack for long car trips, and I remember falling asleep to the music thinking of flower crowns and the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo.

As always with Simon and Garfunkel, the melodies are lovely, woven with simple but really poetic lyrics.

I don’t usually go for live recordings, but listening to the audience was a lot fun. Art does most of the talking, understated and clear, introducing the band politely and quietly prefacing their new song “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (a hit with the crowd, unsurprisingly). The album, like one of their songs, starts softly and builds in intensity before letting us go with a gently wit an echo of the melody, and (except for the end) the crowd responds in kind, quiet so that they can listen but becoming more and more excited as the concert goes on.

Hearing the concert performance itself is a real treat. They sound freer; the harmonies swoop higher and swing lower, the guitar is more fevered, the words, still soft, are exposed and bittersweet. A band accompanies them for a few songs, giving “Mrs. Robinson” a more energetic vibe, closer to that of the Lemonheads‘ cover than one would expect from Simon and Garfunkel’s traditional sound. But my personal favorite track, “The Sound of Silence” is just the two of them — more ragged here, and beautiful as ever.

Like awesome music from a couple of guys with a guitar? Stop by the Parsons Music Library and check Simon & Garfunkel — Live 1969 out. Don’t like awesome music from a couple of guys with a guitar? Stop by anyways. We’ve got awesome music in every variety ready to be listened to.