I’ve always liked Paul Simon, in part because I can remember listening to “You Can Call Me Al” on family car rides and “Rhythm of the Saints” was the first album I heard when I left the Wyoming wilderness after three weeks. But any sentimentality he invokes is a credit to him anyway. His music creates memories.
I bring this up because Jon Pareles has an essay about Simon in the Times today. The point of the story is Simons’s upcoming shows at B.A.M., but Pareles underlines Simon’s struggles as a career musician. Even though the piece is mostly flattering, Pareles isn’t afraid to remind us of the stuff we’ve willfully forgotten from Simons’s oeuvre.
But the piece is a reminder: If you want a career in making things, you can’t just make one good thing. You have to keep creating. Not everything is going to be great. That’s just part of the deal.