Bookends


Simon & Garfunkel quietly slipped Bookends, their fourth album, into the bins with a whisper in March 1968. They are equal collaborators with producer/engineer Roy Halee in a multivalently layered song cycle observing the confusion of those seeking an elusive American Dream, wistfully reflecting on innocence lost forever to the cold winds of change. Bookends opens with an acoustic guitar stating a theme, slowly and plaintively. It erupts into the musical dissonance that introduces "Save the Life of My Child." Its uneasy rock & roll frames highly metaphorical and ironic lyrics and a nursery rhyme bridge. "America" is a folk song with a lilting soprano saxophone in its refrain as a small pipe organ paints acoustic guitars, framed by the ghostly traces of classic American Songbook pop structures. Two people travel the landscape by bus searching for the track's subject, eventually discovering that everyone else on the freeway is too. Its sophisticated harmonic invention is toppled by its message; "America" becomes an ellipsis, a cipher, an unanswerable question. "Overs," a study about the end of a relationship, contains Halee's ingenious use of sound: lighting a cigarette and inhaling and exhaling its smoke underscore the story told by the melody and lyrics. In a two-minute field recording of the voices of old people collected from nursing homes by Garfunkel, disembodied voices reveal entire lifetimes in a few seconds. "Old Friends" carries the message deeper. Simon's image of two old men sitting on a park bench sharing memories and their fears of the changes surrounding them is indelible. A horn section threatens to interrupt their reverie, reflecting the chaos they perceive, but is warded off as the gentle melody returns and fades into the album's opening theme. In "Fakin' It," Simon reveals the falsity inherent in modern life -- it's better to appear to have it together than reflect the struggle of not being able to: "This feeling of fakin' it/I still haven't shaken it/I know I'm fakin' it/I'm not really makin' it." The album's final three tracks, "Mrs. Robinson" (the iconic theme song from the film The Graduate), "A Hazy Shade of Winter," and the album's concluding track, "At the Zoo," offer a tremblingly bleak vision of the future rooted in the lives of everyday people who "fake it," living an illusory dream publicly while trembling with confusion and fear in private (no matter one's generation), subverting the Madison Avenue notion of the "generation gap" simply and honestly. Bookends' problematic, disillusioned themes, sometimes disguised in wry humor, striking arrangements, and augmented orchestral instrumentation, portray the sounds of people in an American life that they no longer understand, or understands them. Simon & Garfunkel never overstate; instead they observe, almost journalistically, enormous life and cultural questions in the process of them being asked. In just over 29 minutes, Bookends is stunning in its vision of a bewildered America in search of itself. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: Columbia (USA)
  • UPC: 074640952920
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Track listings

  • 1. Bookends Theme
  • 2. Save The Life Of My Child
  • 3. America
  • 4. Overs
  • 5. Voices Of Old People
  • 6. Old Friends
  • 7. Bookends Theme
  • 8. Fakin' It
  • 9. Punky's Dilemma
  • 10. Mrs. Robinson
  • 11. Hazy Shade Of Winter, A
  • 12. At The Zoo
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): Book may have been read. Looks new and has no defects. May show remainder marks. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Near Fine (NF): Clean, with no defects, but may show slight wear at edges of book or dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows signs of wear. May have minor defects: clipped or chipped dust jacket; owner’s inscription; remainder mark; minor foxing or bumping. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. May have any of the defects above to a greater degree, including highlighting, library markings, or loose bindings. Rare and collectible books may have cocked spine, cracked hinges, water stains; torn or repaired dust jacket. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): May be very worn, soiled, torn, or barely holding together. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): May have extensive damage from moisture or insects; detached boards; parts may be missing; marginally salable unless very unusual. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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