Monday, October 22, 2007

No. 201: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme

Band: Simon and Garfunkel
Album: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: I was actually pleasantly surprised by "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme." There's antiwar music, English folk songs and wonderful satire. It's clever and cool and is much more interesting as a sonic experiment than basically anything else the duo ever recorded.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: Again, it's Simon and Garfunkel; They don't carry much weight to those of us raised on 80s hard rock. It's wussy music, on some level.
Best song: "Homeward Bound" is kind of a classic.
Worst song: I'm not really in love with "Cloudy."
Is it awesome?: It's certainly the best Simon & Garfunkel record.

I think I've made it clear that I'm not a big Simon & Garfunkel fan; I respect both Simon's writing and Garfunkel's voice, but there's something too vanilla for me to really love.

"Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" isn't as vanilla as their other records. Certainly, the blatant genre satire on "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" gives me a new feeling towards the duo. There's something more sardonic in them and I enjoy that.

The key to this sarcasm is "A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)," a straight-ahead dig at Bob Dylan. The song namedrops 16 different people in Dylanesque fashion and uses the classic "Subterranean Homesick Blues" rhythm to create full-on satire worthy of Stephen Colbert.

The song is indicative of the record's full departure. Like a poor man's "Pet Sounds" or "Sgt. Pepper's," "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme" uses a variety of different sounds and production techniques to back up Simon and Garfunkel's classic folk voice/guitar sound.

In short, it's the most interesting sounding of their records.

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