The reach of oppression can be vast. The poor, outspoken, different, and dissonant are often harmed by political and social persecution; however, oppression can also hinder another foundational element of culture: artistic expression.
It's not often pop music can acknowledge the uncertainty of life without succumbing to dread or pomposity. Simon slips in the needle when we're not looking, giving us the comfort of the music even as he details exactly how scared we truly are.
Paul Simon's album Graceland has turned 25 sounding better than ever. Its impact on music and culture is vast and any list of the best albums of all time looks silly if Graceland doesn't appear on it somewhere.
I am NOT a fan of bulky boxed sets, whether it's music, TV shows, or movies. I often wonder if the people who design them ever bring these things home. Where do they put them? But when it arrived in the mail, I have to admit I broke into a grin.
I was flattered when I was asked to write the introduction to the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Paul Simon's 'Graceland.' There is music that sticks to you and sustains you and grows with you and pushes you to grow with it. 'Graceland' is all those things, and more.