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Bookends

Simon & Garfunkel

1968

Buy At Rough Trade
Bookends
Album Summary

Bookends is the fourth studio album by American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. Produced by Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel and Roy Halee, the album was released on April 3, 1968, in the United States by Columbia Records. The duo had risen to fame two years prior with the albums Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and the soundtrack album for the 1967 film The Graduate. Bookends is a concept album that explores a life journey from childhood to old age. Side one of the album marks successive stages in life, the theme serving as bookends to the life cycle. Side two largely consists of previously-released singles and of unused material for The Graduate soundtrack. Simon's lyrics concern youth, disillusionment, relationships, old age, and mortality. Much of the material was crafted alongside producer John Simon (no relation), who joined the recording when Paul Simon suffered from writer's block. The album was recorded gradually over the period of a year, with production speeding up around the later months of 1967. Initial sales for Bookends were substantial in the US, and the album produced the number-one single "Mrs. Robinson". The album sold well in the US and in the United Kingdom, where it peaked at number one. Bookends was considered a breakthrough for the duo, placing them on the same level as artists such as Aretha Franklin, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones at the forefront of the cultural movement in the 1960s. The album has continued to receive critical acclaim and is debated by critics as to whether it or Bridge Over Troubled Water is Simon & Garfunkel's best album.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.56

Votes

13742

Genres

  • Rock
  • Folk

Reviews

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Mon Jul 26 2021
5

Frances McDormand used the album cover as a visual aid for young William Miller to suggest all rock stars were on dope, something obvious by simply looking at their eyes. Frankly, I don't see it. Paul is trying a little too hard for a look that a young David Schwimmer would perfect some 30 years later, and Artie was likely just caught in a moment scratching the back of his head, or maybe he was trying harder to hear out of his left ear. Second Simon and Garfunkel album I've had from the list so far. There are four solid classics on this album that alone could warrant a 5. The final rating comes down to your desire to be transformed into a Kellogg's Corn Flake, or your feelings on poor Artie being tasked with going out and recording voices of old folks just to get a song writing credit. The loud Moog/Clockwork Orange sound at the start of "Save The Life Of My Child" suggests maybe Frances McDormand was on to something. There are some folks who suggest the Bangles cover of "A Hazy Shade of Winter" is better than the original. Others offer a similar opinion about the Lemonheads cover of "Mrs. Robinson". Both camps are wrong, but the popularity of those covers helps underscore how Paul Simon is one of our greatest songwriters. This is the album when Paul really took perfectionistic control of things, as if to leave no doubt as to who was Tom and who was Jerry. Somehow the closing song "At The Zoo" works for me. The only thing I ever want to see at the zoo is the exit sign. What I'm saying is I don't like the zoo, but I really like this album.

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Mon Sep 27 2021
2

First off, I've no idea why I started this idiotic project when I've already got more things on the go than I have time for, but it was an impulsive click on a link from Popbitch that brought me here and before I knew what I was doing I'd signed up, so here we are. Right, first of 1,001 albums, hope it's something attention grabbing. Oh. A quick bit of background reading on Wikipedia confirms my worst fears: a Simon & Garfunkel concept album. Brilliant. Three hours of acoustic noodling about herbs and bridges. Better fire up Spotify and get on with it. Let's start with the positives: it's only half an hour long and the "concept" only stretches across side one, so it's a concept album in the same way that "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is a concept album, ie only because people keep saying it is. The supposed concept is the human lifespan, so presumably the 30 seconds of "Bookends Theme" are supposed to represent conception or birth. All it conjures up in my mind is a "Schools programmes follow shortly" countdown clock. 30 seconds in and already we're tackling the subject of suicide. "Save the Life of My Child" is the most arresting track on the album, all honking Moogs, sinister choirs and snatches of "The Sound of Silence". Still unclear how suicide fits in with the life cycle concept, but still. Unfortunately it's all downhill from there. Acoustic strum-along follows acoustic strum-along, punctuated by "Voices of Old People" which is literally just that, some old people talking for two minutes, completely derailing the listening experience. Then more acoustic strumming augmented by easy listening orchestra, another bit of the "Bookends Theme" and that's your concept over and done with. Side two deals with an entirely different concept: that of how to pad out an album by the hottest act on your label when they've only delivered quarter of an hour of music. It's a mish-mash of non-album singles and unused tracks from the previous year's soundtrack album for "The Graduate", including, bafflingly, "Mrs Robinson" which wasn't on the soundtrack album - at least, bits of it were but not its familiar single version. So we're on slightly more familiar ground here with "A Hazy Shade of Winter" and "Fakin' It" raising the album above mediocrity. So, not a great start. Like "Sgt Pepper", you probably had to be there at the time. At least "Sgt Pepper" had came with cut-out medals.

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Thu May 20 2021
5

“Bookends” by Simon & Garfunkel (1968) Exhibit A in the art of album making, “Bookends” is a prototype of the ‘concept album’. Here we’re treated to a truly poetic treatment of life’s polarities, with images straining to burst through the bonds of beautifully unyielding metric structure. Paul Simon is a storytelling poetic genius (even if he’s a bit of a showoff). It’s too easy to love this album for the striking beauty of “Mrs. Robinson”, “Old Friends”, and “America” (which still makes me weep). But listen to the album from start to finish, and you’ll appreciate it as so much more than a collection of ‘tracks’. Simon’s performance on acoustic guitar is genre-defining, and Art Garfunkel’s tenor harmonies are angelic. Prepare yourself for shocks as you walk through this garden of delights, ending “At the Zoo”. This isn’t just a folk duo anymore. On this album, the excellence of S & G’s transition beyond their initial folk success surpasses Dylan’s. Those of you who know my love for Bob Dylan are welcome to pick yourselves up off the floor. And as an aside, the backing musicians, arrangements, engineering, and production on this album provide evidence for my reluctant acknowledgment that New York is indeed the greatest city in the world. Ever. Kleenex. 5/5

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Thu Feb 04 2021
2

Fuck Simon and Garfunkel. A couple of low talent hacks. “Old people talking”!? Get the fuck out of here.

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Sun Jun 20 2021
4

Really solid sound from these two assholes again. I hate myself more.

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Fri Aug 13 2021
2

i lost all melinin after listening to this

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Thu Jan 28 2021
1

random documentary in the middle?????

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Thu Feb 25 2021
5

Prob would be a desert island album, what a unique brand these two had. Before all the fluff and fireworks of pop

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Fri Jun 02 2023
3

A surprising forgettable album from Simon & Garfunkel. The concept of side A sounded interesting but is rushed and underdeveloped. 15 minutes worth of music cover an entire life cycle, with only one stand out track ("America") and 2 full minutes of no music at all. It might have been better if they'd fleshed out a full album for this idea. Side B is much stronger. "Mrs Robinson" and "A Hazy Shade of Winter" are the best two songs on the album. Unfortunately, there's really nothing new here, aside from one leftover track from The Graduate. The rest of side B are previously released singles. There's nothing wrong with that, but we're supposed to be rating the best albums ever made. A short concept for side A and a singles collection for side B is too low effort for artists of this level. It's fine for what it is, but hardly their best release in my opinion.

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Sun Jul 04 2021
5

Perhaps their best album. Like both sides of it. The side A song suite and the side B collection of looser and poppier material. Some incredibly iconic songs here. Grew up on this stuff.

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Sun Jun 06 2021
5

A great surprise of an album. If "A Day In The Life" was an entire album, it would be Bookends. The instrumentation, lyrics, and songwriting on this album are phenomenal. All the songs here are highlights and I would highly recommend this album to anyone who hasn't heard it. I love the experimental nature that is incorporated into this album as well. What a pleasant surprise! Highlights: 2, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12.

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Thu Aug 12 2021
5

Look at them! They are high on pot! Great album!

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Mon Jul 03 2023
4

Simon and Garfunkel is usually a little too twee, a little too choir-boy for me. This album avoids that, for the most part, for me. The arrangements are interesting without being bogged down with too much, and the songwriting is, as always, solid. Probably my favorite S&G, both solo and as a duo. Favorite tracks: "Overs", "Mrs. Robinson", "A Hazy Shade of Winter"

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Fri Oct 06 2023
3

Yes, it's okay, I really don't see what the fuss is about

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Mon Apr 01 2024
3

Honestly, I thought this album was overwrought. Too much instrumentation, too many odd sound effects, and so on. The couple of classic tunes on this record are tunes that don't have these distractions. Simon & Garfunkel are best when they are singer songwriters, not trying to be the next Jefferson Airplane acid freakout.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
5

A collection of some of the most notable songs within the Simon & Garfunkel collection. Bookends, Old Friends, Overs, Fakin' It, At The Zoo, Hazy Shade of Winter, and Mrs. Robinson.

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Sun Mar 28 2021
5

Really enjoyed it. S&G are very relaxing to listen to and at the same time I really enjoy the poetic and artsy quality of their music. I liked the first thematic half of the album (bookends), but liked the unthematic second half a bit better. For songs, Mrs. Robinson and Hazy Shade Of Winter are my clear favorites from this album. Great!

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

Easiest 5 star so far. Continues to be a formative album for every generation. The longevity alone is incredible, all together the album is one of the greatest pieces of American culture ever. Perhaps most impressive of all is that this isn't even their best album!

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Fri Jan 13 2023
5

Замечательный и чувственный альбом. Очень лёгкий, приятный и простой, но в то же время и глубоко трогательный и личный. Тексты воспринимаются вполне легко, а в купе с таким же лёгким, но детальным инструменталом всё сливается в одну цельную и красивую картину. (9)

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Tue Oct 10 2023
4

I enjoyed this more than I expected to, especially the A side. They were more experimental than I think I gave them credit for.

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Tue Oct 10 2023
4

Great songwriting and very beautiful voices. Mrs. Robinson is a classic. I didn't like the interludes that much, but overall a very nice album.

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Fri Oct 13 2023
4

Bookend’s theme - 7/10 Save the Life of my Child - 8/10 America - 9/10 Overs - 8/10 Voices of Old people - 7/10 Old Friends - 6/10 Bookend’s Theme Reprised - 8/10 Faking It - 8/10 Punky’s Dilemma - 8/10 Mrs Robinson - 9/10 A Hazy Shade of Winter - 9/10 At the Zoo - 8/10 TOTAL -105 /120

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Thu May 02 2024
4

Always been a fan of Simon & Garfunkle, and there is definitely alot of goodness on this album… Not entirely sure about the whole “concept album” thing that a number of people have commented on… Perhaps it was an attempt – but certainly not what I think of when I think about concept albums, as TRUE concept albums run start to finish, so classic albums that would fit that bill, would be – “Tommy” – The Who “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway” – Genesis “The Wall” – Pink Floyd Even if it was an attempt at a concept album, it seems like they only did one side – so what’s that??? I prefer to think of this a collection of individual songs – much like The Who’s album – “Who’s Next” that started off as a concept, but was abandoned somewhere along the way – but a stunningly good album regardless… Love the harmonies, and the unique sound on this album, and the best songs IMO are – “America” – 6-stars out of 7… “Fakin’ It” – 4-stars out of 7… “Mrs. Robinson” – 7-stars out of 7… “Hazy Shade Of Winter” – 5-stars out of 7… “At The Zoo” – 4-stars out of 7… Given how loaded Side 2 is, plus the fact that this album contains a couple of their most iconic songs in – “America” & “Mrs. Robinson” – this album clocks in at a solid 4 for me – and I would probably give it a 4.25 if I could…

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Fri May 10 2024
4

Can't lie, actually quite enjoyed this. Was far more varied and interesting than I expected and felt like it was over too soon. 29 mins seems a bit too short to be considered an album! Actually, when you then consider that there's also 2 mins of old people talking it seems they are taking the mick a bit. But I'll gladly take quality over quantity and despite it not really being my thing I would listen again.

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Tue May 14 2024
4

While I can appreciate the historical importance of this album and a tremendous side 2, side 1 doesn't quite reach up to the same heights. It tackles a fairly straightforward concept – ageing – and while it captures that idea pretty well, it's at the expense of the music's quality. The tracks on side 1 aren't very catchy, and musically they're very simple, often consisting of finger-picked guitars and odd, repeating melodies. America and Old Friends are my two favourites on this side. The Bookends Theme and its reprise are very forgettable, and Voices of Old People is obviously unnecessary. I will acknowledge that this would've been a pretty big stepping stone in the development of concept album culture. At least it's a more well-defined concept than Sgt Pepper (as another commenter pointed out). Side 2 is brilliant. Fakin' It, Punk's Dilemma, Mrs. Robinson, A Hazy Shade of Winter, At the Zoo... All of them put a huge smile on my face because of how goofy and fun-packed their melody and lyrics are. Mrs. Robinson, in particular, is pure 60s pop, and it's a masterpiece. 4/5 Key tracks: Fakin' It, Punk's Dilemma, Mrs. Robinson, A Hazy Shade of Winter

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Tue May 14 2024
4

Extremely modern sounding album for its time. Had to do a triple take that I wasn't listening to music in another tab for Save the Life of my Child, I can't believe this song was recorded in the 1960s, feels like it's a modern remix of an old S&G song. Incredible stuff. Voices of Old People is a skit that seems to set the template for contemplative skits on albums. I can't think of many skits from this era; I wouldn't be surprised if it was the first of its kind. Beautiful orchestral production on Old Friends; maybe my favourite song here? Second half lost me a bit despite the songs having more streams... interesting.

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Thu May 16 2024
4

Nr. 175/1001 Bookends Theme NR Save The Life Of My Child 3/5 America 5/5 Overs 3/5 Voices of Old People 2/5 Old Friends 4/5 Bookends Themen - Reprise NR Fakin' It 4/5 Punky's Dilemma 4/5 Mrs. Robinson 5/5 A Hazy Shade of Winter 3/5 At the Zoo 4/5 Average: 3,7 More experimental than I would have expected from a Simon & Garfunkel album. I prefer their regular stuff.

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Mon May 23 2022
3

Alvin, Simon, GARFUNKEL! Do, do, do, do, do, do

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Thu Jun 22 2023
3

Side A suite is excellent but the back half is hampered by its odds and ends nature. Simon had yet to find a lyrical voice that wasn’t bad college poetry (he wouldn’t get there until “Hearts and Bones”) and it really shows in those castoffs. Sometimes you have to kill your babies, even if it only leaves you with an EP’s worth of material.

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Tue Mar 12 2024
3

A side was hot garbage. B side pretty good. 2.5

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Tue Jan 09 2024
2

I do not wish I was a Kellogg's cornflake floating in my bowl. nor do I wish I was an English muffin.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
2

Definitely an album in the 60s.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
2

Given the subject matter of many of these songs, how does it still manage to feel so white and wimpy? I found this one a bit boring, they've gotta have better albums than this because they have a handful of good songs and they aren't on here. A Hazy Shade of Winter is good but is cancelled out by At the Zoo (elephants aren't even dumb). Not enough good ones to justify a higher rating or a relisten.

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Thu Apr 18 2024
2

The album mostly passed my by in a blur of nothingness

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Mon Apr 22 2024
2

Every time I get a S&G album on here, I think "this is the one that will get me into this band." I've come to the conclusion that I just don't like them. The first and second side of the album don't mesh at all. Other than "Mrs, Robinson," this album was a big miss.

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Tue Apr 23 2024
2

Kind of boring, not bad voices, just hardly even noticed it was playing

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Mon Apr 29 2024
2

A pretentious mash of a half-baked concept record and leftovers from their score for The Graduate, not even the modular Moog on “Save the Life of My Child” can save Bookends from being ponderous and slothful throughout its 30 minutes.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
1

I'm glad this was short. The duo tries to explore some weirdness here like on the track old people talking...which quite literally is just that. Didn't get it. Seems like the studio threw on Mrs. Robinson, which is the only good song, after the fact to get people to buy it.

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Tue Apr 23 2024
1

Mrs Robinson was okay and the rest was incredibly boring

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Wed Sep 16 2020
5

Genuinely amazing calming vibes

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Tue Apr 13 2021
5

Går inte att ge det här albumet något annat.

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Fri May 07 2021
5

Surprisingly unorthodox for S&G but still a great album with beautiful songwriting

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

I've never heard this entire album

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Only knew a couple of songs going in, but I loved a lot of them! Bookends and Mrs. Robinson are classics of course. Fakin' It and A Hazy Shade of Winter are new faves.

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Absolutely beautiful, dynamic and nice overall.

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

Perhaps all the songs I like of S&G are in this album.

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Sun Jan 31 2021
5

Maravilhoso, apesar de não ser o melhor deles.

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Sat Jun 12 2021
5

I mean, I knew I would like this one because I like Simon & Garfunkel. I have to say I was thrown by the electric sound at the beginning, but I liked it better after that.

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Tue Feb 02 2021
5

Fantastic album, can't fault

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Wed May 19 2021
5

Tres bon album. J’ador S&G. Paul Simin est pour moi un des plus grand auteur-compositeur-interprete du 20e siecle. 5*

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Sat Feb 06 2021
5

A hippie record, with such great songs and concept. A true classic.

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Fri Mar 12 2021
5

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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Mon Feb 08 2021
5

Timeless classic! Brings me back to early childhood and my parents listening to this! So good

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

Excellent and incidentally my husband’s favourite album of all time.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

Surprisingly trippy for 1968 thought it would be pure folk but it was real interesting!

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

POP en mayúsculas. Fantástico.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

*i love them and this album *a few short interludes of talking/everyday noises *love folklike sound

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Sat Apr 03 2021
5

The melodies are amazing, love this combination between rock and folk. I can feel really identified with some lyrics, which makes me love this album even more

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Tue May 04 2021
5

An absolutely gorgeous album. Sensitive, beautiful, unique, it's everything!

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Sat May 08 2021
5

❤️❤️Simon and Garfunkel

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

What a classic! So pretty, such good music, harmonies, lyrics, everything.

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Fri Jul 30 2021
5

Was instantly impressed with this, despite only really knowing the hits previously. Track 2 comes in with heavy synths, and some really incredible production that sounds much more modern than I expected. Fantastic use of reverbs to create a very dynamic feel of size and space. Choice of instruments, arrangements, and musicianship are top notch. And it goes without saying that Paul Simon is an amazing songwriter. I wouldn't usually consider giving an album that I am only hearing for the first time 5 stars, but I'm so blown away by this that I have to.

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Fri Aug 27 2021
5

dit is genieten, ge hoort ook echt dat het een ouder album is love it.

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

Perfect example of songwriting and singing.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
5

As good as you'd expect. Nice selection of tracks too. The hits are great and the album tracks often go to interesting and unexpected places. Rock solid start to finish.

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Sun Oct 17 2021
5

They could have called this Goosebumps. As wonderful from beginning to end as any album ever. Beautiful, a little weird, evocative, poignant. I have loved it most of my life, to the point that I don't put it on much any more for fear of getting tired of it. But I think I listened to it for the first time on a very good system, and it's even better than I remember. The drums in America. The french horns in Old Friends. The rattle in the voice of the guy who doesn't think it's an ordinary cold in Voices of Old People. The entirety of Hazy Shade of Winter. So beautiful it literally brought me to tears.

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Tue Nov 09 2021
5

The Sounds of Silence will forever be my favourite, but this is also stunning; wonderful songwriting and gorgeous harmonies throughout.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

An outstanding album, fully deserves 5 stars

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Sat Dec 04 2021
5

Strikingly simple and playful lyrics covering some dark themes. Enjoyed the pleasant guitar and smooth voices of the duo. Would give 4.5 if I could. Would listen again, and I suspect it will grow on me each time I do. Maybe when I'm a bit older I'll give this a 5 after listening to "old friends" with an old friend :)

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

Is it trite to call this seminal? Because it definitely feels that way

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Fri Dec 31 2021
5

Second album I'm hearing from these guys. First heard Bridge Over Troubled Water and was incredibly impressed. Needless to say, this one too delivered in the same way. Lot's of great variety, fantastic and catchy melodies. I know I'll be coming back to listen to this album again and again.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
5

I’ve always loved this duo but had never listened to this album in full. Beautiful harmonies and exquisite songwriting.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

Classic, a little weird and art house-ish, but I love the folk.

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Mon Jan 17 2022
5

THis LP is interwoven into the tapestry of my sou. It was a hand me down. It was always there. This LP introduced me to o much. I mean 'Fakin It', did that sound collage pre date Strawberry Fields, or the drum solo fade out? An ESSENTIAL LP that should demonstrate quality n songwriting, production, modrnism and protest. A artefact of 1966 but one that resonantes, classically.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Love S&G, such a peaceful and beautiful album

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Mon Mar 21 2022
5

This album steps away from the folk revival aesthetic while sounding unmistakably like Simon & Garfunkel. Bookends centers thematically around a cycle of life exploring themes such as youth, old age, and insecurity. The album is grounded thematically by the Bookend Theme which quite literally bookends side one. The sound montages further set this album apart as a conceptual work, but it is still undergirded by Paul Simon's distinctive lyrics and the lush vocal harmonies for which Simon & Garfunkel became famous.

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

I love how this album is split into two parts. There's the first side which gives a loose chronicle of life from childhood/adolescence, 20s love, middle-aged divorce, and the autumn years all bookended ;) by the title track. Then there's the second side which is a loose selection of quality singles and deep cuts dating back a year or two. I also like the emotional music balance of melancholy/despair (Old Friends/Bookends, Fakin It) and genuine feel good/happy too (Mrs Robinson, At The Zoo) throughout the album. Guess it helps having a talented songwriter like Paul Simon and having the angelic vocal talents of Art Garfunkel.

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Fri Mar 25 2022
5

Another classic 5 star album from Simon & Garfunkel except for "America", but that song is easily compensated by the other tracks.

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Tue Mar 29 2022
5

Paul Simon is one of the all time greats and he really shines on this album. Beautiful poetic lyrics, wonderful acoustic guitar licks and picks with a nice mixture of experimentation - moog/horns/strings. It feels as accomplished as the best Beatles’ albums but pretty much all written by one genius.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
5

Je suis jaloux des talents de compositeur de Paul Simon.

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Tue Apr 19 2022
5

Such a good album! Obviously a precursor to Bridge but Bookends holds its own.

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