by Garrett Sawyer
Carly Simon's songs are one of the best deals around. Since when has someone ever had something refreshing to say about love? Or when has sibling envy been this infectious? Check out these examples:
1) We Have No Secrets
It might come as a bit of a surprise to you but the title song to Simon's blockbuster third album never made it to the charts. Pity. Songwriters have hacked the male-female relationship to death so it's pretty unlikely somebody would come up with a new angle to it.
Simon succeeded with this lavish number about being so intimate with someone that you know all their innermost thoughts ... then discovering that you preferred not knowing them.
Once the genie is out of the bottle you can't put him back in (Sample lyric: "In the name of honesty, in the name of what is fair you always answer my questions but they don't always answer my prayers").
2) Embrace Me, You Child
This haunting ballad captures the bittersweet relationship Simon had with her father. For the uninitiated Richard Simon was the Simon of Simon and Schuster publishing fame. He was a powerful, imposing man but not always the easiest to please.
And the stress of running one of the most successful publishing houses in American history eventually took its toll on his health, leading to an incapacitating heart attack then finally a fatal one.
The elder Simon had hoped for a son so after two daughters (Carly's older sisters) he was quietly disappointed to have another girl. Carly's sisters felt stable love from him but, sadly, Carly didn't. The unfinished business of their relationship came out here.
Initially she sees her father as strong, magical and all-powerful, just like God himself. Until he has his heart attack and dies, that is. Afterward their power fails and Carly is left with feelings of abandonment that she still grapples with.
The song itself is made all the more effective by the heavenly choir-like background vocals (Sample lyric: "Then one night Daddy died and went to Heaven and God came down to earth and slipped away").
3) Older Sister
This lighthearted romp is the flip side of her relationship with her father. Carly was good-naturedly jealous of her older sisters. Joanna, the eldest, became an opera singer. Lucy, the next eldest, wrote songs for the theater. Joanna was sophisticated, Lucy beautiful.
This left very little room for the gawky, awkward, lanky Carly except to be the family comedian, a role encouraged by her mother.
The envy she felt at the exciting, romantic lives she thought they were leading came pouring out in this jazzy, tongue-in-cheek song, backed by producer Richard Perry's baritone punctuation.
Jealousy simply never sounded this delicious (Sample lyric: "Their silver I.D.'s and sororities, they tinker with love in their Model T's. Oh Lord, won't you let me be her for just one day!").
This kind of almost brutally open candor in songwriting is rare, but not in Carly Simon's songs. What's even rare is being able to fuse this kind of honesty with a sense of humor. In my next article I'll continue showering you with unsung gems from her canon of work.
If you like Carly Simon then you'll like a song inspired by the story of a young soldier who returned from Iraq. For a limited time only you can download that song for FREE by clicking HERE. Download your free song at: http://www.garrettsawyer.net/am/
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