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Paul Simon — The Boy In The Bubble
Album: Graceland
Avg rating:
7.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 971









Released: 1986
Length: 3:55
Plays (last 30 days): 1
It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio, and

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call
The way the camera follows us in slow-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry, baby, don't cry, don't cry

It was a dry wind
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth
And the dead sand
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call
The way the camera follows us in slow-mo
The way we look to us all, oh, yeah
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry, baby, don't cry, don't cry

It's a turn-around jump shot
It's everybody jump start
It's every generation throws a hero up the pop charts
Medicine is magical and magical is art
Think of the boy in the bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart

And I believe
These are days of lasers in the jungle
Lasers in the jungle somewhere
Staccato signals of constant information
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires, and, baby

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call
The way the camera follows us in slow-mo
The way we look to us all, oh, yeah
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry, baby, don't cry, don't cry, don't cry
Comments (77)add comment
 Tomasni wrote:
My rating 8 down to 6
 
I'll see your 6 and raise to a 9. 

Is it just me, or is there a lot of Paul Simon played here? (and I like Paul Simon)
My rating 8 down to 6
 pinto wrote:

OK, I admit that I don't get the Paul Simon Graceland vibe that is so prevalent amongst the listeners here and I certainly don't criticize anyone here for liking it but I draw the line at "one of the greatest sing-a-long songs"  The Beatles are sing-a-longs.  So is Motown.  Your favorite guilty pleasure.  Your favorite not so guilty pleasure.  But this is not a sing-a-long song, much less one of the "greatest".  Thank you.

 
Where you draw your lines is generally your business, but don't confuse your lines with anyone else's.
When this album was about to b released, I was working as a freelance video editor. My agent booked me a gig editing the TV ads for it. One of the perks was an advance copy. I made a cassette and played it in my car to and from work for a couple of weeks! It was a revelation at the time. World music was still a new thing, and all the African rhythms and melodies were quite new for most people. I think it has stood the test of time, and I still listen to it. this track gets a 9.
 pinto wrote:

OK, I admit that I don't get the Paul Simon Graceland vibe that is so prevalent amongst the listeners here and I certainly don't criticize anyone here for liking it but I draw the line at "one of the greatest sing-a-long songs"  The Beatles are sing-a-longs.  So is Motown.  Your favorite guilty pleasure.  Your favorite not so guilty pleasure.  But this is not a sing-a-long song, much less one of the "greatest".  Thank you.

 
I tend to agree.  Let's face it, if it were really a sing-along, you'd probably hear Ladysmith Black Mambazo in the background, singing along, as they do on many songs on this album.


 kingart wrote:
One of the greatest sing-a-long songs. 

 
OK, I admit that I don't get the Paul Simon Graceland vibe that is so prevalent amongst the listeners here and I certainly don't criticize anyone here for liking it but I draw the line at "one of the greatest sing-a-long songs"  The Beatles are sing-a-longs.  So is Motown.  Your favorite guilty pleasure.  Your favorite not so guilty pleasure.  But this is not a sing-a-long song, much less one of the "greatest".  Thank you.
 kcar wrote:

Honestly—and without any sarcasm or condescension—that has to suck. 
This punched me in the head the first time I heard it. Still does:

 
There may not be much sarcasm, but that can seem pretty condescending.  I got pretty tired of hearing this song incessantly thirty years ago, but it's a good tune.  Nice to hear it after a long break.
An amazing album. Never tire of it. 
"These are the days of lasers in the jungle. These are the days of miracle and wonder." What's not to like in this song?!
Slapp'n da Bass!  I Likey
 FatPants wrote:
I think I'm into my 25th year trying and failing to like anything off of this album.  

 
Honestly—and without any sarcasm or condescension—that has to suck. 


This punched me in the head the first time I heard it. Still does:


It's every generation throws a hero up the pop charts

Medicine is magical and magical is art
Think of the boy in the bubble 
And the baby with the baboon heart
And I believe
These are days of lasers in the jungle
Lasers in the jungle somewhere
Staccato signals of constant information
A loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires, and, baby
These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long-distance call 
The way the camera follows us in slow-mo
The way we look to us all, oh, yeah
The way we look to a distant constellation 
That's dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder 
And don't cry, baby, don't cry, don't cry, don't cry 
It is always a challenge to be in time to crank up the volume to an appropriate level before the drums kick in.
For those of you who may not know the inspiration for the song title:

https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/bubble-boy-40-years-later-look-back-at-heartbreaking-case/

I'd give this great song an honorary 10 merely to counter those who don't like it.
 
I think I'm into my 25th year trying and failing to like anything off of this album.  
Wow. Nothing's changed since this came out. Only the names and places. 
 MiracleDrug wrote:
THIS album is definitely his best work... {#Clap}

 
Including S&G? I don't think so. Not by a long shot.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_in_the_Plastic_Bubble

Song title is likely a reference to the subject matter of an early John Travolta movie. 


"These are the days of miracles and wonder, don't cry, baby don't cry."
- phrophetic maybe

Not sure about the title of the song. Makes me think about —->



 


"These are the days of miracles and wonder, don't cry, baby don't cry."
- phrophetic maybe

Not sure about the title of the song. Makes me think about --->


Best song on a very, very, good album.
 treatment_bound wrote:
Great timing!  I just read where Paul Simon got arrested over the weekend in some kind of domestic dispute!

 

Apparently both Simon and his wife Edie Brickell were arrested on the same charge this weekend (either domestic violence or disorderly conduct, depending on which reports you believe), but his name is splashed all over the headlines while hers isn't. Seems legit. 
gr rabaak wrote:



 

Great inside information from both of you. I will definitely check them out. This effort seems to mean even more to me as time marches on...
Great timing!  I just read where Paul Simon got arrested over the weekend in some kind of domestic dispute!
{#Heartkiss} has to be a big F A T 9
Nelson Mandela: rest in peace.  
 jrozzelle wrote:
I was a lieutenant in the Army stationed in Germany when "Graceland" appeared.  These lines from "You Can Call me Al" would play in my head as I wandered about

"A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the Third World
Maybe it's his first time around
He doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man"

I saw the "Graceland" concert in Frankfurt with all the South African musicians and singers: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ray Phiri on guitar.  Midconcert Miriam Makeba came out alone on stage and in a high, lilting, almost little-girl voice said, "I want to thank Mr. Simon for inviting me to perform with him."  She spoke slowly, pausing after words for effect, enunciating carefully with a British-South African accent.  She continued in her high voice. "I hope someday I can invite Mr. Simon to perform with me"—again she paused and then shifted into a deep otherworldly register, so that you felt it, and shouted, "IN A FREE SOUTH AFRICA."  For a second the audience was stunned, before cheering erupted. The memory of her voice still sends chills down my spine. 

There's a documentary film on the Graceland tour and album.  Hope it makes it here.

https://www.paulsimon.com/us/video/under-african-skies-graceland-documentary-trailer

 
Very interesting story, thank you for this!

Everybody in my churches loves this song...  and this entire album...  this album is one of the top ten of all time...
 
One of the great sing along songs. Wistful and uplifting at the same time, and great images. Peerless songwriting. 
 
 jrozzelle wrote:
I 'm not sure if this is the same documentary that I saw on public TV recently or not. But the one I saw was worth seeing. THe racial tension in South Africa was unbelievable. Mandela was in jail. Just getting Paul Simon together with these people was dangerous. Most of those musicians had NO idea who Paul Simon was when they were summoned to play with him.  They just jammed in recorded sessions.  Paul would get ideas of what he wanted and would try and communicate what he wanted through translators. Then they would record another jam session.  A studio tech took pieces of the jam sessions and created some of the songs from them. Then Paul wrote the words.  If this link is to the same documentary I saw. I will have to check it out later as I am headed out the door to work. 

I was a lieutenant in the Army stationed in Germany when "Graceland" appeared.  These lines from "You Can Call me Al" would play in my head as I wandered about

"A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the Third World
Maybe it's his first time around
He doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man"

I saw the "Graceland" concert in Frankfurt with all the South African musicians and singers: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ray Phiri on guitar.  Midconcert Miriam Makeba came out alone on stage and in a high, lilting, almost little-girl voice said, "I want to thank Mr. Simon for inviting me to perform with him."  She spoke slowly, pausing after words for effect, enunciating carefully with a British-South African accent.  She continued in her high voice. "I hope someday I can invite Mr. Simon to perform with me"—again she paused and then shifted into a deep otherworldly register, so that you felt it, and shouted, "IN A FREE SOUTH AFRICA."  For a second the audience was stunned, before cheering erupted. The memory of her voice still sends chills down my spine. 

There's a documentary film on the Graceland tour and album.  Hope it makes it here.

https://www.paulsimon.com/us/video/under-african-skies-graceland-documentary-trailer
 

Wow! 7 Graceland tracks out of 46 in the RP library.  Bill sure loves PS - so do I.  {#Good-vibes}
I was a lieutenant in the Army stationed in Germany when "Graceland" appeared.  These lines from "You Can Call me Al" would play in my head as I wandered about

"A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the Third World
Maybe it's his first time around
He doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man"

I saw the "Graceland" concert in Frankfurt with all the South African musicians and singers: Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ray Phiri on guitar.  Midconcert Miriam Makeba came out alone on stage and in a high, lilting, almost little-girl voice said, "I want to thank Mr. Simon for inviting me to perform with him."  She spoke slowly, pausing after words for effect, enunciating carefully with a British-South African accent.  She continued in her high voice. "I hope someday I can invite Mr. Simon to perform with me"—again she paused and then shifted into a deep otherworldly register, so that you felt it, and shouted, "IN A FREE SOUTH AFRICA."  For a second the audience was stunned, before cheering erupted. The memory of her voice still sends chills down my spine. 

There's a documentary film on the Graceland tour and album.  Hope it makes it here.

https://www.paulsimon.com/us/video/under-african-skies-graceland-documentary-trailer
Lasers in the jungle...


Everybody in my hotel room loves this brilliant song...

 
Almost unbelievable that this still so fresh sounding song is already 26 yrs old.
One of the greatest sing-a-long songs. 
THIS album is definitely his best work... {#Clap}
I gleefully concur, the base and accordion, and the mix of genres make this song wonderful.
8 -> 9  Yup, the bass and accordion combo just really do it for me.

"the bomb in the baby-carriage..." Simon is a master of surprising alliteration.
Understated masterpiece of an album. Love it. Paul Simon at his best...again.
 wingfinger wrote:

Ah nice: Costanza & the bubble boy..."It's Moors you idiot!"

 MojoJojo wrote:

Moops  

 
 
Did something happen to the bubble boy?

Forere Motloheloa - Accordion

Playing a rather unusual Trikitixa accordian with an extended lower range.

Accordians are ... ummmm .. strange.  I had a girl friend once who played one in the junior high school band and she told me it was very "exciting".   I recall watching her rather preturberant nipples thrust outward as if they were tiny redwoods climbing toward the sky, where heavenly delights might dwell.

But what did I know, I was only 14 at the time.

OTOH, there is a Roland Accordian synth modification which might be interesting to play around with ....


 leathepea wrote:

This whole album is good for the ears, not a bad track at all.
 
My kids grew up with this. They still love it. Ages 20-28
Great music transcends time and age
 wingfinger wrote:
Love everything about the bass part on this.  Love the accordion thingy holding down the rhythm part too.  I'm picturing Myron Floren in some sort of floral print african shirt...
  Exactly!  But Myron Floren gettin' jiggy wif it?  Idunno about that one ;^)




Excellent song...  love it...

 

Ah nice: Costanza & the bubble boy..."It's Moors you idiot!"

 MojoJojo wrote:

Moops  

 


 bindi wrote:
1986

It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio

. . .it seemed like another world way back then.
 
Yeah, everybody uses cell phones to blow things up now-a-days.

Love everything about the bass part on this.  Love the accordion thingy holding down the rhythm part too.  I'm picturing Myron Floren in some sort of floral print african shirt...
This song will never get old.
1986

It was a slow day
And the sun was beating
On the soldiers by the side of the road
There was a bright light
A shattering of shop windows
The bomb in the baby carriage
Was wired to the radio

. . .it seemed like another world way back then.

Amazing lyrics with a dynamite musical arrangement.
 leathepea wrote:

This whole album is good for the ears, not a bad track at all.

 

Yes, I remember when this album came out...  it was a landmark...  the whole album is incredible...


I like Radiohead, but this is more brilliant.    

 
wrangler wrote:
from the brilliance of radiohead's reckoning to this friggin accordian crappola?  felt like i was just in a car wreck.  jolting.  don't get me wrong, this song is fine, but that segue left a lot to be desired - for instance, a segue.  {#Cowboy}
 


Nice!
 romeotuma wrote:


This song is soooo good for the ears...
 
This whole album is good for the ears, not a bad track at all.

Moops  



This song is soooo good for the ears...


 snark wrote:
I remember the first time I heard this CD.  There was something magical about it.  So different, esp. for Paul Simon.  About a million plays later it is a regular fave in my car; never fatigues, along with Rhythm of the Saints and Songs from the Capeman, the latter being questionable (lyrically) for open air time, but nevertheless uber impressive musically and in the West Side Story tradition.  I love the way Paul weaves his doo-opp roots into everything he does.

I, too, CANNOT BELIEVE that Graceland is not a regular source of faves for RP listeners.

More Graceland, more Saints, and (some) Capeman.  (and everything else Simon)

 
Could not have said it better myself.  I hear PS is kind of a mean guy though...somehow, I just dont care when other artist who are jackasses with great music just get under my skin.

So not the best song on this album, but I guess its better than "You Can Call Me Al." Does RP have "I Know What I Know" on their playlist?
from the brilliance of radiohead's reckoning to this friggin accordian crappola?  felt like i was just in a car wreck.  jolting.  don't get me wrong, this song is fine, but that segue left a lot to be desired - for instance, a segue.  {#Cowboy}

Godlike, in spite of PS's best efforts......................truly magnificent band!

 holborne wrote:
Eh, not my favorite song from this album. That squeezebox sounding thing at the beginning is annoying.
 
{#Yes} Great album, less-than-great song.

sorry, I can't stand this.
 Jelani wrote:
Crap. With a capital C.
 
Great. Just great, with a capital G. And the entire album is a Gem, might well candidate for the best album of the 20th century. {#Hearteyes}
Crap. With a capital C.
I hate accordions, but the lyrics to this are incredible and sadly, very timely.  A solid 9.
One of my all time favorite albums... great song too!
 roseap wrote:
how has this never been played on RP before?
 
I was wondering the same thing.  This entire album is of incredible quality.

 holborne wrote:
Eh, not my favorite song from this album. That squeezebox sounding thing at the beginning is annoying.
 
Not my favorite either.  That's why I only gave it a 9.

Now if the boy could only sing in Cajun French I could see this working.
how has this never been played on RP before?
...i dig me some tuba...

I dig me some accordion
Eh, not my favorite song from this album. That squeezebox sounding thing at the beginning is annoying.