When I was in seventh grade, I would come home from school every day, sit down at the dining room table, get out my US History homework, and listen to Graceland. All of it. It was like a ritual. I always listened with headphones on, and I would close my eyes and soak in the amazing sounds of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Simon’s wonderful lyrics.
Even at age 13, I felt like I could truly relate to these songs. My favorite song on the album was (and is) the title track. Speaking about the song, Paul Simon said he had never been to Graceland, so he decided he’d better go…and so he went to Memphis, and that’s how he was able to write the opening lines – describing the landscape of the Mississippi Delta shining like a national guitar, etc.
I’ve always liked two lines the very most. The first one is: ”Losing love is like a window in your heart/ everybody sees you’re blown apart/ everybody sees the wind blow.” I love the imagery of that line.
The other line I love is “There is a girl in New York City who calls herself the human trampoline/ And sometimes when I’m falling, flying or tumbling in turmoil I say/ Oh so this is what she means….” I love the plosive nature of this line…”falling, flying/ tumbling in turmoil”. It sounds just wonderful.
My dad thinks that Graceland is one of the best albums of all time. It’s Oprah’s favorite album of all time! 13-year old me would say it was the best album ever…20-something year old current me definitely ranks it in the top 50.