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Paul Simon — I Know What I Know
Album: Graceland
Avg rating:
6.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 1776









Released: 1986
Length: 3:11
Plays (last 30 days): 2
She looked me over
And I guess she thought
I was all right
All right in a sort of a limited way
For an off-night
She said don't I know you
From the cinematographer's party
I said who am I
To blow against the wind

I know what I know
I've said what I've said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head

I know what I know
I've said what I've said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head

She said there's something about you
That really reminds me of money
She is the kind of a girl
Who could say things that
Weren't that funny
I said what does that mean
I really remind you of money
She said who am I
To blow against the wind

I know what I know
I've said what I've said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head

I know what I know
I've said what I've said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head

She moved so easily
All I could think of was sunlight
I said aren't you the woman
Who was recently given a Fulbright
She said don't I know you
From the cinematographer's party
I said who am I
To blow against the wind

I know what I know
I've said what I've said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head

I know what I know
I've said what I've said
We come and we go
That's a thing that I keep
In the back of my head
Comments (299)add comment
Going to see him in two days!! He's coming out of 'retirement' to do a couple live shows in the Bay Area, one in Oakland, and then Outside Lands in San Francisco this weekend. 
Still remember my kids in car seats bopping to this.

Awesome!

They still love this!
Research events when this album was produced. Africa was throwing off the shackles of colonialism and its rhythms were becoming hip. Paul Simon tapped into that The music was new and enjoyable in itself, but also gave a new direction for pampered westerners to virtue-signal before the term became common use. Enjoy it for what it is. Times have moved on, but i a classic of its time and few musicians have reinvented themselves as Paul Simon did here. Cheers to him.
 brtoledo wrote:
I hate those shrill voices of the choirs.
 

Agreed, it's not doing anything for me either, and I'm a choral singer!
I hate those shrill voices of the choirs.
 medoug wrote:
I created a Radio Paradise account specifically so I could comment on how much I hate this song.
 

A bit strange, that. Did you donate? Are you still here? X
 medoug wrote:
I created a Radio Paradise account specifically so I could comment on how much I hate this song. Those background singers sound like fingernails on a chalkboard on a cheese grater to me. We have RP playing at work, and I dive for the mute button when this song comes on. Three minutes of awkward silence is better than this.

 
pankman wrote:
Without wishing to tread on anyone's toes, this song get annoying as hell. Especially these female background vocalists are a pain-in-the-ass.
 
 Get over it. (and by that I mean just skip the song) 

I created a Radio Paradise account specifically so I could comment on how much I hate this song. Those background singers sound like fingernails on a chalkboard on a cheese grater to me. We have RP playing at work, and I dive for the mute button when this song comes on. Three minutes of awkward silence is better than this.

 
pankman wrote:
Without wishing to tread on anyone's toes, this song get annoying as hell. Especially these female background vocalists are a pain-in-the-ass.
 
Yes,,, a bit too much airplay on this little ditty 
 pankman wrote:
Without wishing to tread on anyone's toes, this song get annoying as hell. Especially these female background vocalists are a pain-in-the-ass.
 
Yes, too much airplay for me lately. It's irritating.
 robertomiller wrote:
I know what I know, if you know what I mean?
 
Nah, that's his wife's tune.
Graceland was a landmark, but I really don't enjoy this tune any more.
I think it’s the amvciv day CEO’s
Without wishing to tread on anyone's toes, this song get annoying as hell. Especially these female background vocalists are a pain-in-the-ass.
 Stefen wrote:
It's an okay song, but I heard it too much in its heyday.  
 
Yes, it doesn't age well.  But the album was quite amazing when it was released.  
Great album!
ah, where is that PSD button? 
oh, there it is!
I know what I know, if you know what I mean?
{#Bananajam}
 nutrod42 wrote:
How someone who was arguably one of the greatest American songwriters got to this point I will never understand. Blah.

 
I heard it live in the Hollywood Bowl a couple months ago where his notably spectacular band went on a jam with it for a while.  That totally worked so maybe that is it's real purpose.
It's an okay song, but I heard it too much in its heyday.  
The bassline is upbeat. Fact.
 nutrod42 wrote:
I will never understand.


No...you won't.
How someone who was arguably one of the greatest American songwriters got to this point I will never understand. Blah.
Thanks Christ for PSD
 coloradojohn wrote:
I certainly appreciate recalling how blessed we were to have had PS and Talking Heads turning us all onto World Music in the mid-'80s

 
Among others, but yes, at the time this album said "Hey, listen to something different!"
I liked it then, I like it still.
 kurt_from_kanada wrote:
Way too much  of this guy.

 

yep and lately I have been reading a lot crap about Simon and he's hard to listen to now
one of my very favorite songs!   thanks, Bill!
A little goes a long way...
Way too much  of this guy.
One of the weaker tracks on an amazing album.
 
 TerryS wrote:

I was reading the NME in the 50's and FRoots as it's  called today at the end of the 70's.
The truth has always been out there, folks. 

 
Well, I didn't know there were "before it was cool" hipsters in the 50s, but I guess nothing ever changes. 
 coloradojohn wrote:
I certainly appreciate recalling how blessed we were to have had PS and Talking Heads turning us all onto World Music in the mid-'80s

 
Peter Gabriel too...
 coloradojohn wrote:
I certainly appreciate recalling how blessed we were to have had PS and Talking Heads turning us all onto World Music in the mid-'80s

 
I was reading the NME in the 50's and FRoots as it's  called today at the end of the 70's.
The truth has always been out there, folks. 
I certainly appreciate recalling how blessed we were to have had PS and Talking Heads turning us all onto World Music in the mid-'80s
Love this and the loud lady is blessed and adds so much dimension to the song.
I'd like that loud hooting lady to please keep it down, cos she sounds like my Mum at Christmas.  Thanks.
 jamelch wrote:
Giving it a 10 because it comes from Graceland, one of my all time favorite albums.  I dig it and it sounds amazing when played with the rest of the album.

 
yes best album of 1986 for me!  {#Hearteyes}
 dragon1952 wrote:
I Know What I Know too and it's that I just don't get this guy at all. Outside of S&G I don't think I could name one Paul Simon song that I cared for. I realize he's God-like to many so I guess it's just me.

 

Word
I Know What I Know too and it's that I just don't get this guy at all. Outside of S&G I don't think I could name one Paul Simon song that I cared for. I realize he's God-like to many so I guess it's just me.
 2020sk wrote:

I beg to disagree. I think that voice - more precisely the whole combination of vocal sounds - elevates this song above the ordinary. And one of the best song endings of the 1980s.

 
I agree, I think this voice is matching all the other elements and completes the set perfectly. {#Clap}
 bindi wrote:
Cool tune from an amazing album, but that lady in the background with the insanely irritating voice makes it suck, . . .more than anything has ever sucked before.

 
I beg to disagree. I think that voice - more precisely the whole combination of vocal sounds - elevates this song above the ordinary. And one of the best song endings of the 1980s.
What did my ears ever do to him?
Giving it a 10 because it comes from Graceland, one of my all time favorite albums.  I dig it and it sounds amazing when played with the rest of the album.
 Rofi wrote:
A bad case of rape off African Music

 
I really really hope you meant to say "rip off".  But you're still off base, muchacho.
RP should only play this in November when (for most of the audience) the geese are winging it to where it's warmer.
PSD and I traded this for Loreena McKennitt's take on world music.  For me that's like trading in a dime store Harlequin novel for War and Peace.
 Rofi wrote:
A bad case of rape off African Music
 
That's way over the top.
Great lyrics ... wish there were more verses.
A bad case of rape off African Music
 JHZ wrote:

Actually there is a song by Palace Brothers (aka Will Oldham) called "I am a cinematographer" which mentions that one a lot. There is also a version of that song on the Bonnie Prince Billy (aka Will Oldham) album Sings greates Palace Music.

 
Also, Lounge (Closing Time) by Modest Mouse:

She was going with a cinematographer
Everyone knew that he was really a pornographer
Not feeling this one at all, like fingernails on a chalkboard
awful, just awful.
 
Reminds me of South Africa - lived there for 20 years. Aside from Paul Simons voice over the top, this is pretty much spot on ladysmith black mambazo.
 kdarwish wrote:
Woooof, grated, honestly the end of that was a real relief. Please enlighten if have missed something REALLY subtle. Finding it very hard to believe Paul Simon "made" that. Perhaps at gunpoint, hence the frenetic quality. :)

 
Usually I like this song but it was definitely PSD material today. 
Woooof, grated, honestly the end of that was a real relief. Please enlighten if have missed something REALLY subtle. Finding it very hard to believe Paul Simon "made" that. Perhaps at gunpoint, hence the frenetic quality. :)

brilliant song from a great album...  love it...
 MrGreg wrote:


"Hey! Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?"

 
{#Lol}
 GuiltyFeat wrote:
Don't I know you from the cinematographer's party?

Bonus points, surely, for using the word "cinematographer" in a song. I think it's one of those one off lyrical mentions - like "Belsize Park" in Kayleigh.

If anyone else can name a song that mentions either cinematography or Belsize Park or both in a lyric, I'd be happy to hear about it. 
 
Actually there is a song by Palace Brothers (aka Will Oldham) called "I am a cinematographer" which mentions that one a lot. There is also a version of that song on the Bonnie Prince Billy (aka Will Oldham) album Sings greates Palace Music.
 xkolibuul wrote:

Leave the hyperbole at home please.  
 
Actually, bindi's right. It sounds like the woman's singing while juggling hot coals.
 bindi wrote:
Cool tune from an amazing album, but that lady in the background with the insanely irritating voice makes it suck, . . .more than anything has ever sucked before.
 
Leave the hyperbole at home please.  
This record is a masterpiece.  It made my life better  {#Cheers}
Apartheid is over . . .woop woop woop woop woop
Can't stand it
Generally like this album, but the background singers on this song are hard to listen to.
 d-don wrote:

Dancing with you and the hotel room people, RT.

 
Yes, this song is magnificent, from one of the best albums in infinity...  we be dancing...

 
Don't I know you from the cinematographer's party?

Bonus points, surely, for using the word "cinematographer" in a song. I think it's one of those one off lyrical mentions - like "Belsize Park" in Kayleigh.

If anyone else can name a song that mentions either cinematography or Belsize Park or both in a lyric, I'd be happy to hear about it. 
Cool tune from an amazing album, but that lady in the background with the insanely irritating voice makes it suck, . . .more than anything has ever sucked before.
 treatment_bound wrote:

I'm pretty sure Paul is Jewish, so you're going to have to pick an alternative "Higher God" to lodge your complaint with on this one...
 
Jehovah, this is awful. . . is that better? 
 
Orrible I say, just Orrible!
 romeotuma wrote:

Everybody in my hotel room be dancing...


 
 
Dancing with you and the hotel room people, RT.


Everybody in my hotel room be dancing...


 
Paul Simon, you would think he was African. Seems to have lost the ability to write a song that does not plagiarise the African continent.


 lsfeder wrote:
Back up singers sound like neutered hyenas... god awful.  
 
Who neutered the hyenas?... Chuck?



We be dancing...  love it...



846 people are dancing here right now...  love it...


Like this song, only can't help finding the bass is a bit off tune...


Time flies when we're having fun...  love this song...



Gonna see Paul on Monday at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco — w00t!!
Reminds me of this South African guy I dated the summer this album came out.
 gshrieves wrote:
Christ, this is awful. 
 
I'm pretty sure Paul is Jewish, so you're going to have to pick an alternative "Higher God" to lodge your complaint with on this one...


Great song....but the backup vocals absolutely kill it.  Those high notes are completely unnecessary; they contribute nothing to the harmonies.  Would probably be tolerable if they were lower in the mix (much lower).
Mute worthy........


"We come and we go.  That's a thing that I keep in the back of my head."

How profound...  can't believe 1986 is so far behind us...  happy new year to all...


 
Classic.  I never get tired of hearing anything off Graceland.  A brilliant, timeless masterpiece of an album.  
The first time I've ever had to turn the volume all the way down on RP. This is brutal.
fail!
Back up singers sound like neutered hyenas... god awful.  
Overrated?
 ick wrote:
I find the caterwauling that is supposed to be back-up singing on this to be really annoying.
 
somebody just tell Yoko to shut up already
Christ, this is awful. 
Fun....{#Dancingbanana_2}
 mirland wrote:
Terrible!
 
Agreed
Terrible!
I find the caterwauling that is supposed to be back-up singing on this to be really annoying.
 crockydile wrote:

{#Think} You clearly live in some parallel dimension. I consider this one of his best.

 

Or maybe a perpendicular dimension. (You never hear about perpendicular dimensions, it's always parallel.  What up with that?) 
 katherinenz wrote:
She looked me over
And I guess she thought
I was all right
All right in a sort of a limited way
For an off-night

How the hell is this only a 6.5?  


 
As examples of the songwriter's art goes, it's not up there in the pantheon of greats, I'd have thought. Hardly Dylan or Neil Young territory. For lyrics like that 6.5 is way too good ;-|

This has been one of my favorite PS songs since the first time I heard it.  Comming on the heals of "Bwambwa (feat. Ete)" was a nice suprprise. 


great song to dance along with parrots!
{#Dancingbanana}
 joanie wrote:
I love Paul Simon, but this is the worst of all Paul Simon songs.
 
{#Think} You clearly live in some parallel dimension. I consider this one of his best.

I'm there - dancing with everyone in the studio- singing along
 marko86 wrote:
Not the best song on the album, but ok.
 
Funny how tastes differ - this is by far my favorite track on Graceland.

 katherinenz wrote:
She looked me over
And I guess she thought
I was all right
All right in a sort of a limited way
For an off-night

How the hell is this only a 6.5?  


 

Exactly what I was thinking!
Not the best song on the album, but ok. I remember when the whole album was controverial for violating the boycott due to apartheid. Times have changed and I think it is fair to say cultural boycotts are stupid.
She looked me over
And I guess she thought
I was all right
All right in a sort of a limited way
For an off-night

How the hell is this only a 6.5?  


 romeotuma wrote:
This is a great song from a seminal album...  the title of the album is a material reference to my father, but it also has much metaphorical meaning...

this song is cool rocked-up reggae, with a virtuoso guitar lead, and profound lyrics...  this great song is from one of the best albums of all time...
 
Your father was Elvis Presley....the King of Rock and Roll.{#Crown}
I like Paul Simon but he sounds more like a Simian in this song...


love it...


 jbunniii wrote:
There was a hag DJ in Chicago, one Terry Hemmert of WXRT, who used to play this song just about every morning from 1986 to, oh, about 1990.  I still haven't recovered.
 
Jeez....she's been on the air, what, 30+ years now?  A little respect, please.

Nice title,,I Know What I Know, (and You Don't Know Shit) Feel free to take the latter part into your heart at your own free will !  {#Mrgreen}

I love Paul Simon, but this is the worst of all Paul Simon songs.
There is so much going on in this song. Every time I listen to it, I hear more. Incredible. And I LOVE the "screechy" background vocals. So evocative. 


This is a great song from a seminal album...  the title of the album is a material reference to my father, but it also has much metaphorical meaning...

this song is cool rocked-up reggae, with a virtuoso guitar lead, and profound lyrics...  this great song is from one of the best albums of all time...



I don't dance, but this song makes me.
Paul Simon at his worst.
i like paul simon, but this is just plain annoying, especially the stupid backing vocals


"Hey! Wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?"

There was a hag DJ in Chicago, one Terry Hemmert of WXRT, who used to play this song just about every morning from 1986 to, oh, about 1990.  I still haven't recovered.

I had to turn down my speakers...the annoying background vocals were getting to me