My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Bookends was recorded during different sessions taking place from 1966 through 1968. The first side of the album is a concept of life from birth to death. The second side consists mainly of songs written for The Graduate.
What I think: I was telling my wife about listening to this album last night. I said it was ok, but it was a bit weird in that it has two short songs titled “Bookends Theme” and in the middle there is a song that is just old people talking. I told her that there is probably a concept in it, but I wouldn’t know until I read up on it. As I suspected, it is a concept of life and death. I’m usually down with the concept albums and am willing to throw plot lines to the wind to make them work… but not this one, because:
1. It sounds like it was recorded over many different sessions (which it of course was), there is no cohesiveness to it. I can just hear Simon’s period of writers block in the songs.
2. Your concept is twelve minutes of songs, and three minutes of old people talking? Not buying it.
To me, where this album is in the B side tracks, especially the 3,4,5 punch of “Mrs. Robinson”, “A Hazy Shade of Winter” and “At the Zoo”. According to to the concept these are the throwaways, but in fact these are the masterpieces of the album.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? Sorry guys, this just doesn’t cut it. Take out those bookends and the babble and you’ve got a decent record.
Rating (Out of 5): 3.5
Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (103/129)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 80%