Posted by Michael Borshuk On 1:04 AM
"The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon and Garfunkel (1970)
I can think of few songs better than this one about loneliness and its bittersweet ache. Beyond its salt-in-the-wounds lyrical beauty, though, there are few tunes more pantheon-worthy for their contextual grandeur. Composed, as any good S&G acolyte knows, around Artie's departure to Mexico to further his acting career, the number documents Paul's left-behind time writing the songs for Bridge Over Troubled Water, the duo's send-off to the 1960s. Its images are striking--Paul, the song-voice, alone, the last among the living in the formerly great city of Manhattan--and the vocals are, appropriately, for-the-ages, a tribute to the echo-chamber's potential for inciting goosebumps, when Garfunkel, in his ever ethereal way, reminds us, "Here I am." My favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs are about friendship: its problems, its valleys, its lesions, its glorious reconnections. This--ever in contention with the "Bookends" suite--might be their very best.