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Weekend Earworms: Paul Simon Old and New

Weekend Earworms: Paul Simon Old and New

An estimated 92% of us experience earworms. Despite the annoying times we can’t get a chorus or a hook of an overplayed pop song out of our heads, getting a really good earworm stuck can be one of the best things, ever. We here at Nerdist are dead set on bringing you those types of songs—even if only for the weekend. So shove this into your grey matter!

Oh, it’s a big day here at Weekend Earworms. For the first time in a long while, I’ll actually be sharing music that’s only just been released! Granted it’s by an artist that’s been around a long time but still, when most of my articles consist of defunct bands, things like this are rare.

I’m willing to bet that anyone who sincerely doesn’t like at least one Paul Simon song is a person not to be trusted. His music might not be for everyone, and it’s not something even I reach for often, but you cannot deny a career spanning more than 50 years. He’s clearly doing something right and any contrary opinions are likely, well, wrong. If you don’t like him, here’s a way to rationalize how wrong you are: I don’t like avocado or anything made from it. (Stay with me here) You see, I know I should like it since the rest of the world cannot be wrong but I don’t. It’s objectively great according to every other human being but it just doesn’t do anything for me. If you don’t like Paul Simon, he’s to you what guacamole is to me.

Man, this has already gone off the rails. Readers, my sincerest apologies for that and the disdain you likely feel for me for not liking what other people insist on telling me is delicious guac. Let’s get to the music, shall we? We’ll start with a classic.

“Kodachrome”


1973’s “Kodachrome” is easily one of the most popular Paul Simon songs of all time, and my personal favorite. Everything about it is undoubtedly earwormy, and frankly just plain fun to sing along to. It would be permanently cemented in my brain with only thoughts of the montage from Coneheads if it weren’t for The Muppets covering it last year. Yet sharing a song as beloved as this is just too easy and seems like, other than “You Can Call Me Al,” the low-hanging fruit (an avocado perhaps). Let’s get to some of the new stuff.

“Wristband”

I may have buried the lede here, but Paul Simon’s got a new album coming out June 3rd 2016 and what he’s released so far sounds fantastic! This and a track called “Cool Papa Bell” were recently released on YouTube to give the world a taste of Stranger To Stranger, Simon’s latest album since 2011. They have the unmistakable sound you’d come to expect and that’s due in no small part from Simon producing it with longtime friend and producer Roy Halee. I personally cannot wait to hear the rest of the album especially to see if he drops more M.F. bombs like he does in “Cool Papa Bell“.

“Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”

All right, look, there’s really no need for me to make a case for anyone to listen to Paul Simon. It’s something we’re probably all already doing at healthy levels. And sure, I shared this last one for being earwormy but I mostly just need to talk about the video because there is a lot going on.

The video for “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” was made in 1988, but the song was originally released in 1972. Like any video of the ’80s, it leans hard into more than a few music video tropes. Some of that makes sense, like filming it at Paul Simon’s old school with children currently attending. That’s fine. Hometown boy makes good. I get it. Even having celebrity cameos from Spud Webb, John Madden, and Mickey Mantle works, since all videos back then did that. I’ll even excuse simultaneously playing basketball, baseball and stickball in three different areas of the playground. It’s weird, but A+ for the ambition. What I want to talk about is the intro.

Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie perform the intro to the song and something about it has always bothered me. All three artists were all on the same label at the time so that explains why they were there, but I can’t wrap my head around the separate intro. Why is it there? Was it a bait and switch for the audience so that we’d watch the video if Big Daddy Kane told us to? Did they just refuse to participate in the farcical nature of celeb playground time? Was it a second unit after principal photography? Did they not get along? Who wrote the rap? Were they friends!? Was this forced!? I need to know!

Whoops. Off the rails again. What are your favorite Paul Simon songs? Are you excited for Stranger To Stranger? Are you related to Biz Markie and can ask him a question for me? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

Image: Paul Simon


Blake Rodgers writes for Nerdist from Chicago, IL where he lives happily with his Guinness World Record for High Fives. Be his pal by following him on Twitter (@TheBlakeRodgers)

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