Category: Music

This Book Is a Milestone Compilation of All of Paul Simon’s Lyrics

Over the course of my lifetime, I have been a huge fan of both Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen for both their incredible music and their insightful, powerful poetry. Yet, there’s one musical giant, prominent since the 60s who remains one of the best songwriters of all time: Paul Simon.



Image Via Rollingstone


Though his music is usually more lighthearted in comparison to Dylan’s and Cohen’s songs (with a few exceptions like The Sound of Silence and Bridge Over Troubled Water), his lyrics still maintain various surfaces of meaning that require careful listening and contemplation in order to grasp their full depth of meaning. Some of his more upbeat, lighthearted songs such as “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “You Can Call Me Al” which consist of random, confusing lyrics, are still incredibly poetic, and are landmarks in American popular culture.



In 2016, Paul Simon had a book published, titled Lyrics: 1964-2016. It is an easy-to-read layout of all of Paul Simon’s songs and poetry, from his first album in 1964, to his album released in 2016, Stranger to Stranger.


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The book begins with a foreword by the American painter Chuck Close. For the many decades of his professional life as an artist, he claimed that every painting he has created has been painted with Simon’s music playing in the background. The book is then devised into eight chapters, with classic black and white photos of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, and of his original hand written lyrics of some of his most iconic songs, such as “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard,” “Kodachrome,” “Loves Me Like a Rock,”  “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” “Slip Sliding Away,” “Boy in the Bubble,” “Graceland,” and many more.


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If you are a lifelong fan of Paul Simon, or somebody looking to introduce themselves to the world of his profound writing too, this book is a must-have. 



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Jay-Z Book to Be Released on Artist’s 50th Birthday

Over the years, Shawn Carter, known as Jay-Z, has become one of the most prolific and successful rappers in the music industry. With multiple record-breaking albums, a clothing line, a sports bar chain, and a music streaming service, Jay-Z’s influence can be felt in many areas. His legacy is about to be chronicled in a new book.

Jay-Z: Made In America will chronicle the rapper’s career from early beginnings in the rap game to current entrepreneurial ventures, but will mainly focus on the songs that he has written and feature in-depth analyses into his lyrics. The book will be written by Michael Eric Dyson, professor of Sociology at Georgetown University, and includes a foreword by hip-hop artist Pharrell.


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Dyson talked about the book in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly. In the interview, Dyson talked about the importance of Jay-Z’s style of music, and how his story has impacted many:


“I thought this was the perfect time to take a look at Jay-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today. In many ways, this is Jay-Z’s America as much as it’s Obama’s America, or Trump’s America, or Martin Luther King’s America, or Nancy Pelosi’s America, or Maxine Waters’ America. Jay-Z has given this country a language to think with and words to live by, and his lyrics have shaped the self-understanding of a culture that grapples with race and injustice and inequality everyday. He’s an important thinker and artist, and my book tries to measure his impact and acknowledge his greatness.”



Jay-Z: Made In America will be released this fall, in honor of the rapper’s 50th birthday.



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The Top Most Philosophical Leonard Cohen Lyrics

For those who don’t know, Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love was released in theaters on July 4th. The movie chronicles the complicated love of Leonard Cohen and his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen. The film includes many interviews of people close to both Cohen and Ihlen, and is a beautiful story of how free love can ironically place you in the deepest confines of emotional pressure.

The movie also depicts Cohen’s struggle to emotionally commit to a woman, as he was too committed to his writing and his music. The film consists of various words of wisdom from Leonard Cohen and is a reminder that he is one of the greatest writers of the 20th and 21st century. It gives the audience an urge to look back at some of his most profound lyrics throughout his many years of song writing. People forget that he started out as an aspiring fiction writer before taking on the world of music. These are some extremely sagacious lyrics throughout his music over the years.




Song: Treaty

“I heard the snake was baffled by his sin
He shed his scales to find the snake within
But born again is born without a skin
The poison enters into everything”

(Released 2016)

In this verse of the song, Cohen references the Bible, specifically the conversation between Eve and a snake. He references the snake with sentiments of good and bad. Normally, a snake who sheds his skin will get a new skin, naturally undoing himself of his old skin. Undoing himself of his old skin is a metaphor for removing himself of his sins. Yet, while you may be able to forget your sins, it is impossible to undo them. The poison will remain and spread throughout your body. After being born again without a skin, you are left fragile and vulnerable.


Image Via The Guardian


Song: Hallelujah

“Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at somebody who outdrew you”

(Released 1984)

Cohen was brought up in an Orthodox Jewish household, and was quite religious. Yet, he has gone through tragic personal experiences that has made him question the existence of a God.

Cohen also compares gun conflicts to relationships; that every time he has been in love he has been hurt. What he has learned from love is how to hurt someone who has hurt you, or how to impose torment on the other as they break your heart.



Song: Steer Your Way

“As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap”

(Released 2016)

In this verse, the person dying “to make men holy” is an obvious reference to the story of Jesus’ martyrdom. “Let us die to make things cheap” can be seen as a sardonic turnabout of this event. It could also be a reference to how in the capitalist world; how man and woman work in the Third World in life threatening conditions to “make things cheap”.


Image Via Discogs

Song: First We Take Manhattan

“I don’t like your fashion business, mister
And I don’t like these drugs that keep you thin
I don’t like what happened to my sister
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

(Released 1987)

This verse takes quite a cynical look at the fashion business; its pretentiousness and superficiality. That the fashion business symbolizes a lot of what is wrong with modern society.

“I don’t like what happened to my sister” could be a reference to the objectification of women by the fashion industry; how it creates unrealistic standards of beauty for women, similar to what social media is doing today.




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Glastonbury Music Festival Founders Writing Tell-All Book

There’s nothing like the feeling of going to your first music festival. It’s even more fulfilling experience to organize one. The founder of the Glastonbury Festival is sharing his experience of organizing the festival in a new book.

Glastonbury 50 is a collection of stories from founder Michael Eavis and co-organizer Emily Eavis, Michael’s daughter, about the festival’s early beginnings all the way up to its current incarnation. Some stories include Michael organizing his first festival with his wife, Emily taking over as his partner after his wife dies, and the various musicians and controversies that have accompanied the event.


Image Via The Guardian


The book will also feature contributions from popular artists like Adele, Jay-Z and Dolly Parton.


The news about the book was first reported by The Guardian and later covered on the festival’s Twitter.


When asked about the book, Emily Eavis reflected on all the joy she had while helping her father organize the event each year:


“With our 50th anniversary fast approaching, we felt now was the time to put all of our memories and stories together in one place. It’s been a total joy to look back through piles of old photo albums and scrapbooks and to reflect upon what it meant at the time, and the incredible evolution of the event.”


Glastonbury 50 will be published in October.



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KISS Releasing Book All About Their Outrageous Merchandise

When you’re a band as famous as KISS, you’re going to have a lot of merchandise centered around you. From toys to t-shirts to coffee mugs, you can slap the KISS logo on anything and it will sell. Now, an entire book dedicated to that merchandise is coming.

The band announced today that a photo book based around their merchandise is coming. Titled KISS: The Hottest Brand In The Land, it will feature up to 390 pages of content featuring a wide array of memorabilia centered around the band.


Image Via Facebook


Many of the photos revolve around the KISS merchandising craze of the 70s and 80s, as well as offer insight into the financial dealings that lead to the stuff you will see in the book.


“This thick 10×10-inch stylish coffee table book goes deep into the wild and crazy Aucoin-era to give you a big, warm hug of nostalgia. It’s like your personal time machine back to the Seventies!”


Currently, KISS is embarking on their final world tour. The book is available for pre-order now on it’s official website.



Featured Image Via Tone Deaf – The Brag