The ineffable qualities of poignancy and time …

My husband and I saw Simon and Garfunkel when they toured together after the performance in the above song.

Even though I think the performance we saw at the Q in Cleveland was wonderful, there’s something about this video that moves me profoundly.  It’s not just that two old friends put aside their differences to make great music again.

Part of it is that this song paints an America that flat out doesn’t exist any more.  Don’t get me wrong — I’m a child of the 60s, and even seen through the haze of a good childhood, I know they weren’t as idyllic as some of us who lived through them think they were.  But there’s an innocence about the song, remembering a time when you could just pack up and go.  I suppose you still can, but it’s not the same.  We weren’t tied together by electronics then, whether smartphones or just the need to fill out forms and give out your social security number for the simplest of transactions.

The other thing is seeing Simon and Garfunkel together again.  They still sound amazingly great.  Most of the kids who are “stars” now won’t be able to stand up at these guys’ ages and sing with anywhere near the same quality — at least without autotuning and whatever electronic garbage the music industry comes up with in the meantime.  At the same time, I’m moved by their longevity together. They started off as high school students and are still together, making quality music all these years down the road.  Marriages don’t even last that long any more.

Also, musically, as someone else pointed out, they transposed the song down a half (I’m guessing to help Art Garfunkel) and the lower pitch moves something in me; its a darker, deeper feeling.  Maybe it’s nothing more than sonics, but it feels very emotive to me.

“Cathy I’m lost I said though I knew she was sleeping
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why
Counting the cars on the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come to look for America
All come to look for America”

Suddenly, I wish I could drive across the country … I’ve seen so little of it. Maybe that’s what moves me the most; America, and what she’s supposed to be.  Do you think there’s any of her left?

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