BY: Traci Taylor
When some music lovers think of romantic artists from the past, they think along the lines of Marvin Gaye. Now, I wouldn’t argue against that in any sense. However, for me, I’ve always found the tunes of Simon and Garfunkel have gotten me through times of love and loss. Considering Valentine’s Day is this week and in 1966 “Sounds of Silence” was certified Gold on Feb. 14, I think it’s only right to pull one of their records from the vault to review.
One of my favorite films of all time is, “The Graduate.” I was lucky to find the soundtrack while I was vinyl hunting in my hometown in New Jersey. Hearing the music while watching the film and listening to in on vinyl are two different experiences.
The soundtrack’s first tune is “Sounds of Silence.” This song sets the mood for the entire album. In the film the song is played three different times. The connection between the feelings of the main character, Benjamin Braddock played by Dustin Hoffman, and the lyrics of the song intertwine beautifully.
“And in the naked light I saw, ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening.” That line from “Sounds of Silence,” connects with the inner turmoil Braddock feels about not being understood by anyone he speaks to.
The majority of the album consists of instrumental songs. The full version of “Mrs. Robinson,” does not appear on the soundtrack. On the first side there is an instrumental version, and on the second side there is a short tapered version of the song. It is a way the soundtrack stays true to the film, because the full length version of “Mrs. Robinson” is never played.
Every song in the soundtrack is an example of the journey that Braddock endures throughout the film; within his interactions with Mrs. Robinson, and his life post-graduation.
On the back of the vinyl cover there are a few different quotes about the movie and film. Charles Burr said, “…it is the inside life of the soul that this picture is about- sincerities so deep they can only be whispered. And it is this that the young- all people for whom it is not already ‘too late’- are taking seriously.” Burr’s words sum up the connection of what both the film and movie represented. Each song on the album conveyed the sadness, joy, and confusion of emotions that the film embodied.
Side two of the record is the transition and is less upbeat than side one. At this point Braddock’s character is going through a radical epiphany moment. Finding himself rejecting the affair with Mrs. Robinson and falling for her daughter.
“Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” is another one of the full version songs of Simon and Garfunkel that appear in the soundtrack.
Overall the soundtrack is worth listening to. It is easier to appreciate if the film has been viewed before-hand. The film gives visual to the instrumentals compiled together on the soundtrack.
The album concludes with an acoustic, increased mellow version of “Sounds of Silence.” Each song or album that Simon and Garfunkel are involved with always is a musical work of art.