I love rediscovering
great songs. Listening once again to the song “America” written by Paul Simon,
and performed by Simon and Garfunkel, I was struck by the genius of this song.
The chord structures, time signatures, and poetry are beautiful. It paints
stunning pictures in my mind.
The song tells a
story of two young people finding their way in the world. It captures the angst
of a whole generation of people in the 1960s and 70s. There is the optimism of
youth and the emptiness that seems to stem from a generation not knowing who
they are or for what purpose they exist. Paul Simon was asking good questions
about life. I wonder if he ever found his answers.
(Listen to the song

Let us be lovers,
We’ll marry our fortunes together.
I’ve got some real estate
Here in my bag.

So we bought a pack of cigarettes,
And Mrs. Wagner’s pies,
And walked off
To look for America.
“Kathy”, I said,
As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh,
Michigan seems like a dream to me now.

It took me four days
To hitch-hike from Saginaw.
“I’ve come to look for America.”

Laughing on the bus,
Playing games with the faces,
She said the man in the gabardine suit
Was a spy.

I said, “Be careful,
His bow tie is really a camera.”
“Toss me a cigarette,
I think there’s one in my raincoat.”
We smoked the last one
An hour ago.

So I looked at the scenery,
She read her magazine;
And the moon rose over an open field.
“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said,
Though I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and
I don’t know why.”

Counting the cars
On the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come
To look for America,
All come to look for America,
All come to look for America.

Songwriter: Paul Simon, Published by Universal Music Publishing Group

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