Paul Simon–Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard

Paul Simon is one of the rare artists that spent a career releasing perfect songs.  He produced plenty of formidable works while performing in Simon & Garfunkel, but his first true faultless effort as a solo artist was Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.  Before Kodachrome, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, and the impossible brilliance of Graceland, came this frothy snippet about getting in trouble for unspecified mischievous deeds.  The lyrics are brilliantly vague and specific at the same time, producing a grandly exciting tale of goofing off and getting bailed out, while leaving the details fuzzy enough to create an enduring mystery.  The frivolous story is a perfect match for the effervescent instrumentation.  With an instantly identifiable guitar intro, and the ever-present hiccup of the cuíca, the song’s sound is as distinctive as it is enchanting.  Add to that the greatest whistle solo of all time and a rousing “Whoa-oh!” that kicks into the final verse and you’re left with one of the most jubilant songs ever put to tape.

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