Review Summary: Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.
I may be a sucker for some good old fashioned folk music but few musicians are able to impact me in such a way as Simon and Garfunkel. Maybe it’s their gorgeous vocal harmonies or perhaps it’s Paul Simon’s gifted songwriting, but there’s just something about the goofy looking duo that gives them that extra little spark. The way they effortlessly combined pop and folk was unparalleled at the time. In fact, it’s safe to say they were two of the most influential musicians of the 60’s and they really started to find their sound on their sophomore album Sounds of Silence.
Released in 1966, Sounds of Silence
is the album that brought Simon and Garfunkel back together and hade a huge impact on their success. Ironically, the duo had already called it quits due to poor sales of their debut album until Bob Dylan’s band overdubbed the track ‘The Sound of Silence’ without the band’s knowledge. Although the song first appeared in acoustic form on Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
, it sounds better than ever this time around with the addition of drums, tasteful electric guitars and an overall improvement in production. Strangely enough though, it’s still the outstanding vocals of both Simon and Garfunkel that steal the show and they sound nearly flawless as they harmonize throughout the entirety of the opening track.
Although the music itself is fantastic on the duo’s sophomore release, it’s the lyrical genius of Paul Simon that makes many of the songs so powerful. It’s no surprise the title track became their first smash hit and to this day it remains one of the best songs ever written by Paul Simon. Its meaning has been largely debated but it’s hard not to relate to the song in some form or another. Lyrics like In restless dreams I walk alone
and Hello darkness my old friend
prove to be the perfect match for the song’s beautiful but almost eerie sound. Apart from the successful hit single the album has several other standout tracks such as ‘Blessed’ which contains an upbeat country vibe or the soothing ‘Kathy’s Song’ which is simple yet beautiful. Other tracks such as ‘Richard Cory’ or the pleasing closer ‘I Am a Rock’ are also graced with Simon’s superb songwriting ability and remain some of the duo's most enjoyable tracks.
I can’t recommend Sounds of Silence
highly enough. It’s a groundbreaking release from one of the most influential duos in music. Anyone who appreciates well-written lyrics or fancies themselves some folk tunes will not regret checking it out. Sure, it can’t touch their classic Bridge Over Troubled Water
, but it’s a damn fine effort that contains some of Simon and Garfunkel’s most memorable tracks.