Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ezra Covers Paul Simon

Download it for free here

Ezra from Vampire Weekend, whose sound many have compared to Paul Simon circa "Graceland", covers Simon's "Papa Hobo" for the soundtrack of Uma Thurman's new movie "Ceremony". (By the way, is Uma, still ultra-hot, now and forever condemned to playing "the older woman", while male actors her age - and much older - simply get to play "men".)

I've seen Vampire Weekend and still don't see what the fuss is about. It got turned off them early with their flaunting of their preppy upbringing. I mean, that's nothing to brag about. And their music is rather dull and safe (while referencing all the right Afro-Caribbean/world music sounds mined by Simon, Peter Gabriel, David Byrne, and countless others, to great acclaim). I was suspicious of their critical and popular success, I suppose. I tried to keep an open mind at treasure island 2009 and coachella 2010 when i saw them, but alas, it was of no use. i still found them boring and pretentious... but the kids in the crowd seemed to be having fun. i was waiting for the raconteurs to come to the stage that night. they were great of course, as were Tegan & Sara...

But anyway, even though i still am not a Vampire Weekend convert, i thought Ezra's Paul Simon cover was pretty cool.

Allow me to mention, by the way, that Paul Simon's new album, "So Beautiful or So What", which i guess officially came out yesterday, is pretty fucking good. Not bad for an old timer. The opener "Getting Ready for Christmas Day" is a jaunty romp through familiar Simon territory, followed by "The Afterlife" about dying and not being greeted by God but being told "you got to fill out a form first, and then you wait in the line".

Simon could have retired and rested on his laurels long ago. I mean, Simon and Garfunkel, "The Sound of Silence", all his great solo stuff, "Kodachrome", "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard", the triumph of "Graceland" ("losing love is like a window in your heart, everybody sees your blown apart, everybody feels the wind blow..."), and his gift of being able to bring African, Brazilian, and Caribbean music to the American masses....

I won't mention here my personal disappointment that he totally blew me off when i said hi to him backstage at Madison Sq. Garden when there was no one else around...

It is encouraging that an artist like Simon can keep trucking, approaching the beginning of his 8th decade on Earth (and what must be his 6th or 7th decade in the music industry). I admire his staying power and longevity. When artists come and go in a year or so, it's great to be able to follow artists like Simon, Dylan, and Leonard Cohen through their ups and downs, highs and lows, romances and heartbreaks, year after year, through their entire careers, through their entire lives, which become our lives.

Simon, who, like me, has Hungarian roots, could have thrown in the towel years ago but it's as if he can't retire (what would he do?), he's compelled to keep creating, recording, and performing. I saw him do a show a few years back outside of Boston around the time "You're The One" came out (2000). He put on a hell of a show, playing all his hits and beloved classics from Simon and Garfunkel, his solo years, and the more recent stuff. He had a great band too. He kept coming back for encores. I wondered if he had fond memories of Boston from days gone by or was just in a good mood, pumped up by an appreciative crowd. Surely he's not just doing it for himself or for Art and still wants people to like his records and performances. Well, they did that night for sure.

He's still got it. He's still The One.

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