Paul Simon Streaming Video Interviews and Audio

It's a happy time for Paul Simon fans- which is to say for anyone with any taste in American popular music. His new album Surprise is a full fledged Simon classic, as brother Blogcritic Mark Saleski for one will tell you

I will go further.  The Surprise album is the best thing since sliced bread.  I don't mind just tearing off hunks of bread from the loaf, so I would go as far as saying that Paul Simon's Surprise album is better than sliced bread.

Ah, but it gets better. Paul Simon has been doing some interviews, in print and on the air.  Frankly, no sensible person wants to hear much talking even from most highly rated singers.  Granted, we'd all like some insights into how the Dixie Chicks come to their genius statements. 

But what would Neil Young, for example, say to describe the creation of Living with War?  It'd probably be something like, uh, I got really stoned, turned on the tape player and puked up some generic blues changes- only I upped the volume till I got enough distortion that you couldn't tell how little effort I put into the compositions.

Whereas, when Paul Simon talks about his creative processes, he's got interesting things to say that tend to make his music sound even more interesting afterwards.  Listen to this NPR Paul Simon interview.  I was particularly intrigued by his discussion of the genesis of perhaps my favorite new Simon song, "Sure Don't Feel Like Love."  His explanation of the key line "Who's that conscience sticking on the sole of my shoe?" was especially helpful.

You may also be interested in this print story from The Independent, though it only gets to the new album specifically in the last third of the story.

Beyond that though, there's a small motherlode of Paul Simon streaming video and audio tracks focusing on his creative process hosted by his label's website.  I'm struggling a bit to watch all these streaming thingies myself, bedeviled by a puny dial-up connection- particularly for the video versions.  But for Paul Simon, it's worth some effort to hear what he's got to say.

For starters, here are some thoughts on his song "Wartime Prayers":
"Wartime Prayers" Part 1: MOV WVX
"Wartime Prayers" Part 2: MOV WVX
"Wartime Prayers" Part 3: MOV WVX

Paul Simon offers some details and thoughts about working with Brian Eno on this album:
Collaboration Part 1:  MOV WVX
Collaboration Part 2:  MOV WVX
Collaboration Part 3:  MOV WVX

He talks also about "intuitive writing," and the dangers of overthinking things, as per his classic pair of songs called "Think Too Much."
Intuitive Writing Part 1:  MOV WVX
Intuitive Writing Part 2:  MOV WVX
Intuitive Writing Part 3:  MOV WVX

Finally, he talks about the specifics of the compositional process, starting with the music and working backwards to the create the words:
Writing Backwards Part 1:  MOV  WVX
Writing Backwards Part 2:  MOV  WVX
Writing Backwards Part 3:  MOV  WVX

The simplest and most intelligent thing to do would be to actually just fork up for a nice factory copy of the Surprise album.  Particularly I note it being available for under $10.  I'm not real big on paying as much as $10 for a music CD- but this is one that you should easily get ten dollars worth of listening out of.  It'll absolutely do your soul more than $10 worth of good.

But if you need a bit more convincing, Warner Bros is also providing streaming audio of two of the songs, the beautifully sentimental "Father and Daughter" and the track in which Paul Simon demonstrates that he's funkier than Snoop Dogg, an "Outrageous" funk joint.  Old 60 something Paul Simon is looking rather buff I might add, as if perhaps he's been actually doing the 900 situps a day he sings about here.
"Father and Daughter"  MOV WAX
"Outrageous"  MOV WAX



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