Saturday, October 3, 2009

Title Tracks: Hearts & Bones

Paul Simon: Hearts and Bones


I will forever associate this song and its album with the arc of a particular love affair, specifically the girl I dated through my last years of high school, an exotic, sensual, tiny and sweet free-spirited child of mixed-race divorce who at fourteen showed me the burning intensity of life for the first time. Our theme song was Song About the Moon, an equally gorgeous lullaby, but this title song from the album she kept on her stereo describes everything I was feeling at the time, from our "love like lightning shaking to moans" to the constant mischievous immediacy she tried, and ultimately failed, to convince me was the way I wanted to live my life, though I will always love her for it in my memory.

In many ways, Hearts and Bones is Paul Simon's most flawed album, with a few embarrassing clunkers in the mix, the whole product yawing too-wide through a set of songs about half of which stand better on their own than in the midst of the discomforting chaos that is the track-to-track listing. Yet in its own way, it is also terribly underrated, containing echoes of what came before and what was to come, as are the young loves who brought us to ourselves. I miss both girl and album every day, though I'd not trade either in a million years for what and who we have all - Simon, myself, and the girl, who is now a distant memory - moved on to become.

As a bonus, here's the sweetest cover of this song I know - equally poignant, though in a simpler, more wistful way.

Aoife O'Donovan: Hearts and Bones


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