Thursday, August 14, 2008

1973: Loves Me Like a Rock

Paul Simon: Love Me Like A Rock


My first two posts this week came from albums I love without reservation. That is not the case here. I knew Paul Simon from his days with Art Garfunkel. This time, my brothers were not to blame; I had a best friend who was a year younger than me, but started buying albums before I did. The Simon and Garfunkel albums had a variety of production touches, but nothing that didn't suit the songs.

When I think of the 70's, I think first of insipid overproduced ballads. Then, I remember the horrors of disco. In 1973, disco was still far off, but the bland productions had begun. Here Comes Rhymin' Simon suffers from this to a degree. The slow songs especially have a wash of smooth backing vocals that serve only to make the songs sound more like musical wallpaper, and there are extraneous instruments, (most notably the electric piano), which do nothing to help the songs. This is all the more aggravating because the songwriting is really good.

But then, towards the end of the album, there is Loves Me Like a Rock. With a full band and gospel vocals, you could say there is no more heavy handed production on the album. But here it all works. The song may be called a secular gospel song, and it is a blast. This actually was my introduction to the gospel style, and it definitely inspired me to explore further.

Submitted by Darius

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