Here is my beef with music made for kids: it is usually unnecessary.
We’ve established I was obsessed with “Thriller” at three and tumbling 4 ya at four. And, as the article about me in the new issue of Jump Philly points out, I was jamming out to Jem in the back seat at five – but Jem wasn’t exactly The Wiggles, if you catch my drift. It was more like Katy Perry, sans the self-hatred and misogyny.
Case and point: “You Can Call Me Al,” from Paul Simon’s seminal Graceland. As I child I was obsessed with it, as well as with “Me & Julio” from his debut.
(Watch me cover “You Can Call Me Al” on YouTube. For more info on my 30 for 30 Project, visit my intro post or view the 30for30 tag.)
The song is a little silly and repetitive. It has lyrics like “roly-poly little bat-faced girl” that delighted me as a child. It also told a story, with its setting painted in vibrant swaths of words … some of them big words, like “redemption,” “allegations,” and “architecture.”
I say, who needs Kidz Bop when you have Paul Simon?
(I was in a real crisis on my 1986 pick, as both my alternates were pretty difficult tunes that I’d rather track against a click (and thus remain top secret). Luckily, I realized “Al” saw its original release from Graceland in ’86, even though it primarily charted in 1987. Ass = saved.)