Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rediscovered: Mrs. Robinson

Simon & Garfunkel: Mrs. Robinson


We've all probably heard this song hundreds of times. I know I have. My parents were fans. I've seen the The Graduate. I've had vinyl copies of Bookends and the Greatest Hits laying around in my LP collection since before CDs were invented. If asked, I'd happily admit that Mrs. Robinson is a "great" song, but it usually just flowed in one ear and out the other.

Until I heard it anew.

One night I uploaded a Simon & Garfunkel record to help me fall asleep. The next afternoon, while I was out walking my dog around the neighborhood, Mrs. Robinson shuffled to the surface. I don't know why, but for some reason it was like hearing the song for the first time. And it sounded...great.

What struck me was how many fantastic lyrics Paul Simon had crammed into one song. There were take-away lines hiding in every nook. While I'd heard them all before, and knew them by heart, I hadn't really listened in years.

Without even getting into the iconic chorus, here are some of the lyrics taken from the verses that really stood out to me as being clever, evocative, or especially nice sounding:

  • We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files. We'd like to help you learn to help yourself.
  • Look around you. All you see are sympathetic eyes. (Classic line.)
  • Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home. (Nice internal rhyme.)
  • Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes. (Nobody talks in such a redundant way, but it sounds great in the song.)
  • It's a little secret, just the Robinsons' affair. Most of all, you've got to hide it from the kids.
  • Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon. (Nice alliteration.)
  • Going to the candidates' debate. (Nice internal alliteration and rhyme.)
  • Laugh about it, shout about it, when you've got to choose, every way you look at this, you lose.
Any one of these lines is a keeper. The fact that Paul Simon put all of them in one short song, not to mention Jesus and Joe DiMaggio, is pretty amazing stuff.

blog comments powered by Disqus