Back in the 80s, Paul Simon was in his prime. His music defined the childhoods and good memories of the 1980s, and even today his music is a reminder of those times. While holding onto those times, Simon also wanted to look forward. Paul Simon captured future hope in Graceland, his 1986 classic that defined an era.
There’s a lot of hope written into Graceland, and a lot of the time it’s subtle. Tracks like title song ‘Graceland‘ come with a warm simplicity to it, its basic nature bring comforting in its own right. All the while, Simon has a deep want to look forward, ‘Graceland’ itself expressing a want to be better. This theme of there being something more ahead is a common one on the record, tracks like the lovely ‘Under African Skies‘ with the traditional African choir reigning in warm sunlight of a new day or the calming sound of ‘Homeless‘ promising that everything will one day be okay being only some examples of this.
The very sound of Graceland is surprisingly positive given its dissatisfaction with the present. Nonetheless, Simon pushes through his current pain and looks optimistically towards the future in each track, evident in the weird positivity of ‘I Know What I Know.’ ‘Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes‘ starts very sweetly before diving into repetitive verses, which almost feels like a commentary on monotony. ‘You Can Call Me Al‘ is loudly cheerful with a great bass solo at the end, while ‘That Was Your Mother‘ is all about having fun. Even closing track ‘All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints‘ as it wraps the record on a big, fun note while discrediting the normal comfort that we are all different: our differences are what make us similar. It’s a weird concept to grasp, especially while the positivity is still very apparent.
Paul Simon captured future hope in Graceland, beautifully bringing in the mood of the 80s while wistfully looking forward. It’s a beautiful combination, truly defining a decade with its sound. Simon’s words still echo hauntingly today, too.
Favorite Track: All Around The World Or The Myth Of Fingerprints
Least Favorite Track: I Know What I Know
Rating: 75 / 100
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