Friday, September 3, 2010

Poetry in Music: Boy in the Bubble

Been doing a lot of driving lately and I don't tend to listen to a ton of music while I drive. Usually NPR or (although I hesitate to admit it) sports talk radio. Today, with about two hours worth of driving to do, I plugged in the old iPod and stumbled across a poetic gem I haven't heard in awhile: "Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon. This song is off the Graceland album which was released in 1986. Even though it's been 24 years now, I still think that album holds up as one of the greatest of my lifetime. Top to bottom it has more wonderful songs than any I've encountered since.

But back to "Boy in the Bubble." It's really a song about current events. Well, events that were current in 1986. But not surprisingly, like so many other classic poems and songs, it has relevance today.

What draws me to it, though, is not the content of the lyrics so much as their poetic elements. Take a listen:

Paul Simon Boy in the Bubble
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There are some great sounds in this song, like "staccato signals" and "medicine is magical and magical is art." Then there's some truly poetic phrases like "curled into the circle of birth" and "the way we look to a distant constellation / that is dying in the corner of the sky." The repetition is great, too. "The way..." in the chorus and "It's" in the bridge. I just love this song. It's definitely poetry set to music. I hope you love it, too.

1 comment:

  1. I do love it. I love that whole album. Thanks for posting about it!