Song of the Day #1,518: ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’ – Paul Simon

My next ‘Folk Rock Derivative’ artist is both a perfect example of the genre and an argument for scrapping the concept of musical categorization altogether.

Nobody can argue that Paul Simon isn’t a folk rock artist — the man practically invented the genre when paired with Art Garfunkel in the 60s. But he has since explored so many different styles — from gospel and jazz to a few continents worth of world music — that one could be a huge Paul Simon fan and have no affinity for folk rock whatsoever.

As for my other categories: Simon made memorable use of a piano on ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ but he’s a guitar man, and one of the best. He has dabbled in doo-wop and country and a dozen other genres but he doesn’t belong in my ‘Pure Pop’ or ‘Country Plus’ categories.

But he’s a shoo-in for the ‘Melancholy’ group, thanks to such sadly beautiful tracks as ‘Sounds of Silence,’ ‘April Come She Will,’ ‘America,’ ‘The Only Living Boy in New York,’ ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’ and dozens of others. He’s a master of the form.

After three weeks, that brings my number of two-category artists to five. I also have five one-category, four three-category and one zero-category artist on the list. And even with four weeks to go, I’m already starting to see some patterns emerge.

“The problem is all inside your head”
She said to me
“The answer is easy if you
Take it logically
I’d like to help you in your struggle
To be free
There must be fifty ways To leave your lover”

She said, “It’s really not my habit to intrude
Furthermore, I hope my meaning
Won’t be lost or misconstrued
But I’ll repeat myself
At the risk of being crude
There must be fifty ways To leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover”

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You donโ€™t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

She said, “It grieves me so
To see you in such pain
I wish there was something I could do
To make you smile again”
I said, “I appreciate that
And would you please explain
About the fifty ways?”

She said, “Why don’t we both
Just sleep on it tonight
And I believe in the morning
You’ll begin to see the light”
And then she kissed me
And I realized she probably was right
There must be fifty ways
To leave your lover
Fifty ways to leave your lover

You just slip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Just get yourself free
Hop on the bus, Gus
You don’t need to discuss much
Just drop off the key, Lee
And get yourself free

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,518: ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’ – Paul Simon

  1. Dana says:

    Well, I am interested to know what patterns emerge.๐Ÿ˜Š

    Incidentally, I wouldn’t put Simon in meloncholy. Writing some sad songs over the course of a long diverse career does not classify someone as melancholy, at least not in any substantial way.

  2. Andrea Katz says:

    Is this ‘melacholy’ an actual category? By the way, I love tuning in to your discussions and arguments. Discussions about music intrigues me for some reason. It is quite zen-ish. What would a psychologist make of all this categorizing? Hmmmm…

  3. pegclifton says:

    Interesting point Andie, I’m sure a psychologist would have a field day ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyway, I love Paul Simon in all his genres!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.