Review #46: Graceland, Paul Simon

Karla Clifton
3 min readMar 6, 2021

#46: Graceland, Paul Simon

One of the worst people I know once put this album on at a party and sang the whole damn thing at the top of his lungs. Every time I hear it I relive this traumatic memory, and yet I still subject myself to Paul Simon. That’s because I may be a Fake Music Fan, but I am also the Realest Music Fan.

I’ve heard Graceland countless times since that fateful party (remember parties?) in order to numb myself to it, but this was the first time I was able to block that experience completely. If there was an album made for the American road trip, this is it.

Lots of fun facts about Graceland. Did you know Paul Simon was married to Carrie Fisher?? Apparently the song“Graceland” was written about a road trip when he was divorcing her, which makes a lot of sense. Also, Paul Simon recorded these with South African musicians during a time when they were under a cultural boycott because of apartheid. Paul Simon is a badass!


“The Boy In the Bubble” — Is that an accordion?! These ARE the days of miracle and wonder, I couldn’t agree more.

“Graceland” — The most excellent road trip song; I don’t think I was driving over a river that was shining like a national guitar when I heard it but I might as well have been. A great song for Paul Simon’s voice, but a horrible one for mine, which is a shame since I love to sing it. I sound like an asthmatic opera singer.

“I Know What I Know (with General MD Shirinda & the Gaza Sisters)”What does that mean, that I really remind you of money? This is a great line and this song is a blast, but oh God it makes me feel like I’m back at that cinematographer’s paaaarty, being tortured by the worst person I know.

“Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” — I think this is the best love song ever.

“You Can Call Me Al”BAAH-DAH-DAH-DAH! BAAH-DAH-DAH-DADAH! This album was made to scream in your car. Also this music video is the best thing Chevy Chase ever did.

“Under African Skies” — Linda Ronstadt is the angelic backup singer! She’s on the RS 500 list with #490, Heart Like A Wheel.

“Homeless (with Ladysmith Black Mambazo)” — In almost every case the backup singers make the song. (EDIT: After writing this my mom pointed out that Paul Simon was on Sesame Street a long time ago with some of the musicians from this album. After some digging, I found him singing “African Alphabet” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who were apparently rocketed to success after Graceland. Thanks Mom!)

“That Was Your Mother (with Good Rockin’ Doopsie & The Twisters)” — The HORNS, oh what a blast.

“All Around The World or The Myth of Fingerprints (with Los Lobos)” — I loved this. Another song that made me happy to be on the road.


“Crazy Love, Vol. II” — If it’s not a great love song it’s a lame love song.


Nope! Don’t let the worst person you know ruin the things you love.

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