Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Disco:Very Translates a Very Bad (Overly Long) Press Release for Harper Simon

"Give a listen to Harper Simon’s shining solo debut and you’ll soon recognize that he is much more than just a shooting star."

[Translation: Harper's father is Paul Simon.]

"Harper Simon is the work of an exceptionally gifted singer-songwriter and guitarist who’s clearly discovered who he is and found his own way and as a recording artist in a time when the very concept of recording an album seems threatened."

[Translation: By focusing on the supposed demise of the album as an art form, which is a complaint one tends to hear from past-it no-longer-charting folk/pop singer-songwriters of the 1960's, it allows us the opportunity to subversively remind you that Harper's father is Paul Simon.]

“The long playing album is the great artistic medium invented in the second half of the 20th century,” says Simon. “The long playing album is not just ten songs thrown together randomly. It has an arc. It has a structure. It is the attempt to make ten songs that are all as good as each other, and fit together in a seamless whole. Long playing albums like Sgt Peppers, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Pet Sounds, Blonde On Blonde, Sticky Fingers -- these albums have helped define our culture. When I was making this record, I was very conscious of making a record that was an homage to the LP.”

[Translation: Why did we casually allude to "Bridge Over Troubled Water"? No reason. No reason at all.]

"Simon recorded his new album in Nashville, New York and Los Angeles with the help of an altogether impressive and decidedly eclectic and multi-generational group of musical collaborators, including famed producer Bob Johnston, an all-star group of veteran first-call Nashville session players, an impressive group of contemporary young singer-songwriters and friends, and yes, even Harper’s own father, the legendary Paul Simon."

[Translation: Have we mentioned that Harper's father is Paul Simon?]

"Making [this album] ended up being a journey in its own right. Simon started the long and searching recording process for Harper Simon in Nashville, cutting basic tracks with Johnston – who was behind the board for classic recordings from Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen – backed by a Who’s Who of enduring session greats familiar from countless classics of the Sixties and Seventies...“I was also very honored and thrilled and moved beyond words to be able to work with some of the people whose work was featured on some of the best albums of all time,” explains Simon. “People who I had been listening to my whole life and whose names I knew only from liner notes and production credits. In search of a sound that satisfied him, Harper...gradually brought in other great players associated with other eras, including a whole new generation of wildly talented musical friends into the mix including Inara George, Petra Haden and Sean Lennon, ultimately mixing the results with Tom Rothrock, know for his work with artists like Beck and Elliot Smith, who all helped bring the shock of the new..."

[Translation: Nepotism fucking rules.]

“The people that came together to contribute to this album are a totally bizarre and wonderful collection of people that will never come together again,” Harper explains. “There are players that represent every era of Rock n Roll from the 50s, 60's, 70's... every decade up until now really. People like Bob Johnston and my Dad and the Nashville A Team, these people started making records in the 50's. Then they made some of the most groundbreaking records of the 60's. There are folks like Steve Gadd and Steve Nieve who played on great records in the seventies... Marc Ribot in the 80's... And many others from today like Inara George, Eleni Mandell, Sean Lennon and Adam Green to name just a few. I always wanted to blend these great session players from the 60's with my friends and contemporaries... that was always part of the concept. I think I may have gotten carried away, but it sure was fun.”

[Translation: Unlike Daddy's brief Graceland-era stint collaborating with Los Lobos, he actually let me keep the authorship of songs I wrote by myself.]

"In the end, it’s clear that there is real blood on these tracks, to borrow a phrase from another iconic songwriter who’s not Simon’s father, and let there be no doubt that blood is Harper Simon’s."

[Translation: We have no shame.]

"Finally, this is an album that reflects powerfully the long road to get to the point where Simon was ready to stake his musical claim...And so he has taken the time and care to make an album built to last. And this is only really the beginning."

[Translation: Although you'll be tempted to compare Harper's music to that of his father's, we can assure you that the only trait these two share are their receding hairlines.]


Anonymous said...

Um, so, actually there are SEVERAL traits Paul and son share. Their music sounds very much alike (not a bad thing) and the way they speak, even, is strikingly similar. But Harper's hairline isn't really notably receding.

Poorly written article.

Disco:Very said...

I'm in agreement with you in a few areas. If you're a songwriter who sounds like Paul Simon, it's not a bad thing--it only means you sound exactly like the other artists whose music Paul Simon steals and labels with his own songwriting credits. And you're right, it was a poorly written article. The overly-lofty statements in the press release say everything that needs to be said, no? The comedy writes itself! But as for the receding hairline? Give it time, toot sweet, give it time.

jonderneathica said...

In the end, there is real hair on that hairline. And let there be no doubt that hair is Harper Simon's.

Anonymous said...

Harper is thirty-seven. How much time does he need to lose his hair? Why is that even a topic of discussion?

Disco:Very said...

Anonymous: Normally, this wouldn't be a topic of discussion--it's only relevant because Paul Simon has been writing song titles for five decades which hint at his impending hair loss: "Slip Slidin' Away", "Fakin' It" (an obvious reference to his mid-70's comb-over), "Gone at Last"...do I have to draw you a diagram? This is a lost soul in deep anguish over his male pattern baldness! Every song he writes is like a plea for help. I'd hug him if it was socially acceptable.