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Monday, September 19, 2011

You Can Call Me Al

... But, don't actually.

Graceland is one of those albums that's followed me since childhood. It was the constant soundtrack to family dinners and road trips while I was growing up, which basically made Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo honourary Hugheses.

Picture from The Guardian

Of course, I hated this album as a child. Mostly because my parents liked it so much. Therefore, my knee-jerk reaction was to despise it with every fibre of my tiny being.

As years went on, I found it harder and harder to deny this album's appeal. Simon's earnest and prose-like lyrics, combined with the upbeat and eclectic musicianship, make for an excellent collection of songs. Try as I might, I could not not like it anymore.

Though not without its controversy, this album is undeniably catchy. My dad gave me his old LP when I got my first record player last year, and it takes me back to my youth whenever I give it a spin. I can't help but smile and swallow my pride a bit when I remember how much I once hated this fabulous record.

Now, here's the adorable video for "You Can Call Me Al", featuring Simon and a dashing young Chevy Chase:


It turns out my parents were right about a lot of things I disapproved of as a child. Vegetables, Peter Mansbridge, and going to bed on time are just a few of the things I used to think were ridiculous, but am now quite fond of.

What do you think, readers? Did you ever end up liking some of the embarrassing music you grew up with? Were your parents ever right about something you hated as a kid? I swear, I won't tell them.


  1. Hahaha Laina,

    "Vegetables, Peter Mansbridge, and going to bed on time are just a few of the things I used to think were ridiculous, but am now quite fond of."

    I'm in the same boat.

  2. Sure. I now appreciate classic country music (Hank Williams say, or Johnny Cash, or vintage Dolly Parton) that only made me roll my eyes when I was a girl.

    Graceland never gets old. I also really like Paul Simon's next album, the Brazilian one, "Rhythm of the Saints," and his earlier solo stuff from the '70s. (Personal favourite Paul Simon solo song is "Hearts and Bones.")

    That video with Chevy Chase was really a memorable moment in music video history. That was back when you tuned into "Video Hits, with Samantha Taylor (wardrobe by Le Chateau)" on CBC at 5:30 (or was it 5:00?) after school in order to see music videos. And held a tape recorder up to the TV speakers to make mix tapes. I was taping crappy songs, though, not anything from Graceland. Who remembers Tiffany?

  3. It's funny how our parents' tastes have such an influence on our own. Heck, my mom was a CreComm student 30 years ago, and here I am, following in her footsteps.

    Karen: I remember Tiffany! "I Think We're Alone Now" was always on Pop-Up Video. I learned most things I know from that show.