Bridge Over Troubled Water

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I’m on your side
Oh when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out
When you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard, I will comfort you

I’ll take your part
Oh, when darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Sail on silver girl, sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
See how they shine

Oh, if you need a friend
I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind

Simon And Garfunkel – “Bridge Over Troubled Water” Lyrics  from MetroLyrics

Whats wrong with these lyrics? I’ve always had  massive doubts about them even back when I believed that Paul SImon was poetic if not a real poet:  And I was fairly ignorant all round about poetry and fine writing in general, so I said “It’s me being a sad loser…”

First- great arrangement, spot on musicians; heroes male & female like the Tamla session guys too I’ve never tired of going on about’ The Wrecking Crew’. Larry on piano award winning stuff, rightly! Hal on drums leading the way for the beat…

The production builds, soaring choir all of that: Unsung fantastic manipulation of the scenery: It’s always been a real emotional link up for many “millions”. So why is it so jarring on so many different points?

I’ll start with the beginning “low key” = more like a mother talking to  to child than one responsible adult to another. Did it start with Art in Paul’s mind, him off filming somewhere? Talking generally about “friends” I will take their place and “ease your mind”: but by doing what exactly? Comfort you, take your part, ease your mind- how will that help when “pain is all around”. No clue as to “lay me down” ( echoes of Jesus laying down His life…) and “dry them all”, “tears in your eyes”; “weary”, “feeling small”: Come on guys let’s grow up a bit… Art will be back next  month.

Is Paul comforting himself- he was married at this time, maybe it was going South too ( I think Art was in Mexico or somewhere) and maybe his Inner Child was having a bad time of it and it all came pouring out with no apparent reason.

So it seems like a nebulous angel-like refuge that by being a “bridge” over those troubling waters- which goes without saying, “it” must be over and above and incapable of sharing or even experiencing whatever “times get rough” actually adds up to. No referents all so vague.

I also find the way the mood starting from that tiny beginning, inexorably building up to a crescendo, carrying one along by sheer assertion: Faux gospel. which makes me suspect that the ‘Force’ secretly being alluded to is religious.

Again the musicianship is excellent. No problem with that but what exactly is the ‘message’ being sold here. From the beginning I resented being told what I was led to feel when I listened to this track; especially in 1970 when it was simply EVERYWHERE all the time.

Critical Essay by Ellen Sander:

[Bridge Over Troubled Water] is a model of consistency and professionalism. The title song, opening the album, is both sad and mighty, disturbing and comforting in one tonal exercise…. As the shape of the album begins to take form, it becomes a song for children, for the child in all of us. It ceases to be music bound by generational conceit and loses nothing in the process.

Now my point is this is the generally accepted view: But is it true? The prof’ism is from clasy session players, not PS nor Art.


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