Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lyrics For Thought Before Singapore Polling Day


An extract and interpretation:

Paul Simon seeks to convey a message of how ignorance taints the minds of so many people. "Silence" refers to submission. He reveals how people so foolishly follow rulers without actually knowing a ruler's true intentions and background. "People hearing without listening" reveals a people's willingness to take heed to the commands spoken by a leader without fully realizing the consequences of this obedience.

Simon, or whomever is having this dream, tries to warn these conformists in the lines that read "'Fools' said I, "You do not know/ Silence like a cancer grows/ Hear my words that I might teach you,/ Take my arms that I might reach you."" But his warning is swallowed in the abyss of submission: "But my words like silent raindrops fell,/And echoed/In the wells of silence."

This song may refer to a particular nation or people, but most likely it refers to people in general who submit themselves too freely. The song continues to describe the people's capitulation in several lines, most notably in the words, "And the people bowed and prayed/To the neon god they made."

The song's meaning is for the listener to decide and there are many different ideas; however, I personally have always believed that it pertains to a people's readiness to support a leader without fully realizing the possible outcomes.

I am aware Paul Simon in an NPR interview, has admitted there was no profoundly deep meaning to the lyrics when he wrote them. He said he was possibly expressing teenage angst and frustration as to how they are largely ignored by society.
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Lam Chun See said...

Simon and Garfunkel are my favourite pop group/duo. I think the first S&G song I heard was, I am a Rock. My favourite song is The Boxer.

So sad that they had to break up. I have dvd of a 'recent' concert - I think the title was Old Friends. It was so obvious from their body language that they are still unreconciled. Paul Simon especially was downright 'hostile'.

Lam Chun See said...

I have a cd of their greatest hits which I copy to my pc so that I can listen anytime I want - like I am doing right now :)

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Chun See for your thoughts about S and G. It is quite obvious who the more popular one is.

I could be mistaken though because the other has also been accepted as a great artiste.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

I love their songs but if we separate the melody from the lyrics, the words may come out with a life of its own.

Try it sometime!

Lam Chun See said...

All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

How true Chun See. You are a practicl man.

music lyrics said...

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i am also like the Simon and Garfunkel songs.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thank you 'music lyrics' for your positive comment. I have left the connection to your site.

It is true that many readers love Simon and Garfunkel songs.