I wouldn’t exactly call myself a huge Simon and Garfunkel fan – this popped up as part of “The Best of Simon and Garfunkel, not the album it calls home. But I have a few favorites, and this is one of my favorites. For one, it’s an amazingly good driving song. You know you can instantly put yourself in a car right now, windows down, watching the world slide by you in a blur of color. The quiet, almost spare verses give it the feel of a ballad, but then it breaks into that beautiful, major-chord chorus, a triumphant hand out the window, riding the breeze.
I’ve actually got another version of this in my collection by the Boston Pops, as part of their patriotic-themed “A Splash of Pops.” It’s an instrumental (as one might expect), and it really brings out just how much of a personality that melody has. But the lyrics are not to be trifled with, either. It tells a story that drops some location names to give you the immediate sense that it’s about seeing the country. But really, it’s a short story about a relationship, an escape from whatever was holding two lovers back. And yet, there’s an obvious strain of an individual, restless longing there, too.
Kathy, I’m lost,” I said, though I knew she was sleeping I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
I’ve always thought of Simon and Garfunkel as a little facile – the kind of music you hear on the oldies station that you maybe don’t turn off, but you’re probably not paying attention to. But this song kind of surprised me when I heard it just now, and the humble, accessible poetry doesn’t suffer for its marriage to a narrative.