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Another brilliant masterpiece, this album from 1968 explores the quest for the American dream and the confusion, frustrations and derailments that go with it.
Track for track, this is Simon & Garfunkel's best album. By 1968, Simon had shed his more precious tendencies as a songsmith. Meanwhile, the duo and coproducer/engineer Roy Halee had become adept studio technicians. "America" and "Mrs. Robinson" displayed the kind of sonic breadth that would flower even more fully two years later with "The Boxer" and "Bridge over Troubled Water." Bits of whimsy ("Punky's Dilemma," "At the Zoo") and melancholy ("Old Friends," "A Hazy Shade of Winter") complete this autumnal album. (The 2001 reissue adds two bonus tracks, including a demo of "Old Friends.") --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The second half of the album has no obvious theme but is stronger overall, containing Mrs Robinson (the biggest hit here), Hazy shade of winter (revived in the eighties to good effect by the Bangles), Faking it (a minor American hit), Punky's dilemma (an excellent philosophical song) and At the zoo (a great song with which to close the original album). Some say that Mrs Robinson (which originally appeared in the soundtrack of The Graduate) doesn't really blend in with the rest of the album. Maybe not, but I'm glad it's here.
Two bonus tracks are nothing to get excited about, but the re-mastering gives a far superior sound quality. There are also some informative liner notes.
If you only want the famous songs, you can find them on any number of hits compilations - some double CD's, some single CD's. However, if you wish to explore further, this album should be a high priority.
Side B contains independent (although very good) tracks with "Punky's Dilema" being a catchy tune (and fun to play on guitar).
Some people may make fun of those who like Simon and Garfunkel. Perhaps it's due to their name which sounds "uncool" per se. It don't matter as Simon and Garfunkel are one of the best duo singer/songwritter combinations ever and just as important/essential to the 60's/70's singer/songwritter generation as any Beatles, Rolling Stones, James Taylor, Eagles, etc...
I dare you to listen to "Old Friends/Bookends" and see if it does not hit a sensitive soft-spot in your heart & soul.Read more ›
"Bookends" is Simon & Garfunkel, and 60's folk-rock, at their absolute best. While other bands were exploring complicted concepts and rock operas, S&G created a side-long song cycle about the simplest of ideas; growing up and growing old.
The album opens with a soft acoustic guitar line of the "Bookends Theme" which explodes into the psychedelic blast of "Save the Life of My Child", then fades into the glorious land and soul-searching ode "America". "Overs" deals with the subject of relationships reaching a stalemate, and "Old Friends" takes an elequent look at old age with beautiful vocals and melodies and stirring strings, and fades back into the original opening guitar line with ending coda "preserve your memories, they're all that's left you." Brilliant. And that's just the first half.
The second half, merely a collection of songs, is one of their stongest collections. The moderate hit "Fakin' It", the wry "Punky's Delemma", the rocking "A Hazy Shade of Winter" and the poppy Orwellian-with-a-twist "At the Zoo". The monster hit of "Mrs. Robinson" although brilliant in its own right, sounds almost out of place here, and ranks up as one of the weaker tracks.
The album covers a great deal of ground, musically and emotionally, and transports the listener...and does so in about a half an hour. Simon & Garfunkel do in 30 minutes what most bands can't do with a full-length cd.
At long last, this gem of an album is getting the credit it so deserves. This is (arguably) Simon & Garfunkel's greatest work as a duo, and perhaps one of the greatest albums of all time. Absoulutely essential.
Most recent customer reviews
Paul Simon said in an interview in the early seventies that each of the five Simon and Garfunkel albums was better than the one that preceeded it, and I think this assessment... Read morePublished on May 30 2004
Well, the first time I ever heard Simon and Garfunkel I must have been about eleven years old. At the time, I was a total NSYNC fanatic (woe is me hehe), but I can recall being... Read morePublished on April 7 2004
My favorite S & G would be "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which would put this album at #2. That said, it's better than almost anything else ever written. Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2003
I will never be able to fathom why this album is considered to be their greatest. It isn't. It doesn't even come close to the breath-taking PARSLEY, SAGE, ROSEMARY AND THYME,... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2003 by Josh H.
This is just as CD with great music. Every piece of it makes you float away into a dreamworld. Listend to it all last week.Published on July 4 2003
This is a great album, one of my favorites. I bought the CD to replace the cassette that replaced the LP. I'll never get tired of listening to it. Read morePublished on May 31 2003 by C. A. Keefe