Wednesday, May 4, 2011


So Beautiful or So What by Paul Simon
"Tender, vulnerable and yet very assured, "So Beautiful or So What" shows the wisdom and skill of the 70-year-old (as of next October) auteur, whose career was at the peak four decades ago and two decades ago - and now it should be again. Multi-colored yet instantly recognizable, the songs sing, offer some endearingly melodic moments, although not as many as they could. Lyrically, Paul plays a man who would like to know better, but the result is dubious - almost every single song deals with mortality, eternal love, angels or afterlife." (Review on Amazon.com)

A few days ago, I was searching my computer music collection for something to "soothe the savage beast". (I was at work and it was a particularly trying day.) Lately my music of choice has been the music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is interesting to me that I have listened to this choir most of my life, but I didn't know it.
So my ear has been re-trained to listen more to the soft refrain, or maybe the subtlety of the words. I love gospel music in any form, but I love music that bears the testimony of the artist.

So I needed to find some new music to add to my "Office Playlist". I remember walking around Borders bookstore recently ;( a favorite and now dying past time) and I heard a familiar voice singing. It sounded like Paul Simon, I thought it was his album "Graceland" a fav of mine, but it sounded different. It reminded me of Johnny Cash and his last album. The theme of Johnny's last album before he died was to inquire about God. This new Paul Simon music had a different feel and melancholy to it. So I was surprised when I ran across the cd again on a blog post I was reading. I went to Amazon.com and listened to the samples. You know when you listen to a piece of music and it reaches into your soul and you know that you will enjoy every song. This is one of those cds. I watched an interview of Paul Simon where he talked about the inspiration for this cd.

One statement stood out to me; He says of his new album
"God comes up a lot in my songs….. A theme that is not intentional …that God seemed to be in 5 or 6 songs, its funny, for somebody who's not religious. He said that after a show about a year ago, Paul McCartney came up and asked him "Aren't you Jewish?" he chuckled."
I have already picked out my favorite songs, and I haven't bought it yet.

1. Getting Ready For Christmas Day

2. The Afterlife (I thought this was pretty funny)

The Afterlife
After I died and the makeup had dried
I went back to my place
No moon that night, but a heavenly light
Shown on my face
Still I thought it was odd there was no sign of God
Just to usher me in

Then a voice from above sugarcoated with love
Said, “Let us begin”
You got to fill out a form first
And then you wait in the line
You got to fill out a form first
And then you wait in the line

3. Dazzling Blue
4. Rewrite

5. Love And Hard Times (When I heard the melody which is haunting and melancholy, my first thought was of the first vision.)

God and His only Son
Paid a courtesy call on Earth
One Sunday morning
Orange blossoms opened their fragrant lips
Songbirds sang from the tips of Cottonwoods
Old folks wept for His love in these hard times

6. Love Is Eternal Sacred Light

Love is eternal sacred light
Free from the shackles of time
Evil is darkness, sight without sight
A demon that feeds on the mind

How’d it all begin? Started with a bang
Couple of light years later, stars and planets sang (Did Paul read Job, concerning the morning stars and the sons of God singing and shouting for joy?
Fire warmed the cold, waves of colors flew
Moonlight into gold, earth to green and blue

7. Amulet
8. Questions For The Angels (This song reminds me of a children's prayer)
A pilgrim on a pilgrimage
Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge
His sneakers torn
In the hour when the homeless move their cardboard blankets
And the new day is born

Folded in his backpack pocket
The questions that he copied from his heart
Who am I in this lonely world?
And where will I make my bed tonight?
When twilight turns to dark

Questions for the angels
Who believes in angels?
Fools do
Fools and pilgrims all over the world

9. Love And Blessings
10. So Beautiful Or So What

This is just a simple post, just musing. I love music and I was once an avid musciophile. I remember having an extensive collection of albums and cd's that tended to chronicle the seasons of my life. Some music reflected my inner emotions, but most music reflected my own personal statements about life or politics or just plain rock and roll.
When I listen to music like this with this particular theme, I wonder if the words are the testimony of the singer. Does the Savior appreciate music that we all sing from our hearts?

In a revelation given to Emma Smith, the Lord reveals something so very personal and sweet about His person:
Doctrine & Covenants 25:11-12
11And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church.

12For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.
The Lord delights in the song of the heart.
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