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Paul Simon — So Beautiful or So What
Album: So Beautiful or So What
Avg rating:
6.6

Your rating:
Total ratings: 480









Released: 2011
Length: 4:03
Plays (last 30 days): 1
I'm gonna make a chicken gumbo
Toss some sausage in the pot
I'm gonna flavor it with okra
Cheyenne pepper to make it hot
You know life is what we make of it
So beautiful or so what
I'm gonna tell my kids a bedtime story
A play without a plot
Will it have a happy ending?
Maybe yeah, Maybe not
I tell them life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what

I'm just a raindrop in a bucket
A coin in a slot
I am an empty house on Weed Street
Across the road from a vacant lot
You know life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what

Aint it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and Love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what

Four men on the balcony
Overlooking the parking lot
Pointing at a figure in the distance
Dr. King has just been shot
And the sirens long melody
Singing savior pass me not
Aint it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what
Comments (41)add comment
awesome. better than most, or 99%, of what many of his contemporaries are doing now. Thankfully we don't hear the modern crap flacid songs of Elton John, Rod Stewart, and the like on RP. This is good, put down your Coldplay and listen to great songwriting (for the record Coldplay post 2005 sucks).
 thewiseking wrote:

Dad Rock at its worst 
 
No such thing as "Dad Rock" sport. Try again.
Gotta hand it to Paul Simon.  So many great songwriters have that heyday and then can't move on.  Like Neil Young, Paul Simon kept evolving and kept writing great songs.  This isn't his best, but the music is good and the lyrics are powerful.  Why do so many other songwriters go into early retirement?
10!
Excellent.  I just switch over and fired this up on my Music Service that plays at red book CD quality (16/48).  The percussion really comes out.  If you dont have a Music service that plays at CD quality they are worth it.  Make RP playlist in mine all the time.  Life changing 
This sounds (to me) like Paul Simon trying to do Remain in Light. I quite like that.
Never heard this before, most excellent! {#Roflol}
 aspicer wrote:
Fantastic tune.  Shocking this is a 6.4 - really RP listeners?! {#Stupid}
 
Compared to his other work this is merely ‘pretty good’, so a 6 seems appropriate.

Dad Rock at its worst 
I think he's a genius. I don't think this song is the best example of it. 
Fantastic tune.  Shocking this is a 6.4 - really RP listeners?! {#Stupid}


So what?  Yawn...
 
 Ag3nt0rang3 wrote:

The norm for who? What middle ground is there for someone born into the favelas, or the slums of Calicut or Mumbai, or into a refugee camp in Kenya, or who lives on the streets in any North American city? Those people have no choices. Not only will they never be brain surgeons, they will never have enough to eat. They have no middle ground. And there are so many of them that in the larger scheme of things, they represent the norm. And too often, the wealthy and privileged - that's us, my friend - use "life is what you make it" to keep what we have at the expense of the powerless. As far as I'm concerned, the only good reason to say "life is what you make it" is to admonish the whiny privileged, who are born with all the opportunities and squander what they have. Ambiguity be damned. 
 
I think you (and Fred) are imposing a value on an open metaphor (a cliche, perhaps) that doesn't seem to be implied. Why assume that Simon is specifically referencing the poorest of the poor, and not, well, you and I (the "wealthy and privileged", in your words)? Why assume he's addressing a socio-economic model at all? He's using cooking as a metaphor for a life lesson to his kids - and if we assume that Simon is speaking personally, and not in character, those kids are very, very wealthy Westerners. It feels like a stretch to assume he's lecturing the poorest of the Third World, when there's more evidence that he's talking to well-off American kids, and then perhaps it's about reminding the privileged about complacency and entitlement. 
And then there's the final verse. We either celebrate great and good or we destroy it. It's our choice.
A powerful tune from a great album (finally) from Mr. Simon!
CHEESES
 apd wrote:

I know what you mean, but why is it either or? Either you live in a slum or you're a brain surgeon - those are the only choices? Nothing in between? And surely what's in between is the norm. "it" is pretty ambiguous in the song and I think he's chosen a deliberately vague metaphor - cooking a stew - to cover a lot of options. His idea of "it" - spice - maybe too much for most people, so he's leaving it open.
Your point about "blame the victim" is valid but I think your problem is with the idiots who use it as an excuse for lazy morality/cynicism/racism, not with the cliche.
 
The norm for who? What middle ground is there for someone born into the favelas, or the slums of Calicut or Mumbai, or into a refugee camp in Kenya, or who lives on the streets in any North American city? Those people have no choices. Not only will they never be brain surgeons, they will never have enough to eat. They have no middle ground. And there are so many of them that in the larger scheme of things, they represent the norm. And too often, the wealthy and privileged - that's us, my friend - use "life is what you make it" to keep what we have at the expense of the powerless. As far as I'm concerned, the only good reason to say "life is what you make it" is to admonish the whiny privileged, who are born with all the opportunities and squander what they have. Ambiguity be damned. 

 lshinkawa wrote:
He's still got it.
 

Perfectly true! Still and possibly forever!
ST. PAUL
Nice!
 fredriley wrote:

Ok, for one. You're born into a Rio favela. However hard you try, the chances of you becoming a brain surgeon are in the millions to one against. Objective conditions militate against subjective improvement. The cliché "Life is what you make of it" is frequently used, in my experience, by those better off to slag off those worse off for being worse off. Or, to use a modern term, it's 'victim blaming'.
 
 
I know what you mean, but why is it either or? Either you live in a slum or you're a brain surgeon - those are the only choices? Nothing in between? And surely what's in between is the norm. "it" is pretty ambiguous in the song and I think he's chosen a deliberately vague metaphor - cooking a stew - to cover a lot of options. His idea of "it" - spice - maybe too much for most people, so he's leaving it open.
Your point about "blame the victim" is valid but I think your problem is with the idiots who use it as an excuse for lazy morality/cynicism/racism, not with the cliche.
 Businessgypsy wrote:
I'm gonna make a chicken gumbo...
 

 
Thanks for posting these lyrics...  it is profound poetry...  I still have not rated the song yet...  I am still absorbing it...

reading these lyrics has helped...


 Proclivities wrote:

"Wicked-good"?  Are you from New England or something?

 
No, not from New England - just been hanging around with teenagers too long.{#Lol}
 lshinkawa wrote:
He's still got it.

If you like the fact that he lifted the background riff from Three Dog Night's "Liar" then, yes, he's still got it.
He's still got it.
 Businessgypsy wrote:
 fredriley wrote:
You know life is what you make of it". That trite cliché has always irritated the holy feck out of me, for so many reasons that I could write a book on it...
Well, favor us with just a few, please. Remember the guy you upbraided for saying a song was derivative without stating the piece from which it was derived? Granted life's gumbo has many interacting ingredients, but there's a school of thought that maintains that a person's will and actions play some part. Seafood or chicken and andouille? It's a choice. Always interested in your analysis.

 
Ok, for one. You're born into a Rio favela. However hard you try, the chances of you becoming a brain surgeon are in the millions to one against. Objective conditions militate against subjective improvement. The cliché "Life is what you make of it" is frequently used, in my experience, by those better off to slag off those worse off for being worse off. Or, to use a modern term, it's 'victim blaming'.

Or another. The phrase is highly ambiguous and can be used to mean pretty much anything. I've often heard smug bar stewards using it in one sense to slag off plebs, only for them to change tack to another sense when you take them to task over their victim blaming. "Oh, I didn't mean to say it's poor people's fault that they're poor - I meant to say that they can make the most of their circumstances if they want to".

Or I could go on, but that would be de trop and frankly way off-topic, and life's not long enough to post long diatribes to web fora.

Tying the meaning of that cracker-barrel cliché down is like trying to nail a jelly to the wall.

 fredriley wrote:
You know life is what you make of it". That trite cliché has always irritated the holy feck out of me, for so many reasons that I could write a book on it...
Well, favor us with just a few, please. Remember the guy you upbraided for saying a song was derivative without stating the piece from which it was derived? Granted life's gumbo has many interacting ingredients, but there's a school of thought that maintains that a person's will and actions play some part. Seafood or chicken and andouille? It's a choice. Always interested in your analysis.

I think you are missing the point. Any chance to hear Paul Simon is always a fine thing...regardless.
Mr. Simon is a pretty creative guy, but it seems that his heyday has come and gone. The profundity of "So Beautiful or So What" is so lackluster and so what. He relies heavily on the sound of his ensemble and little on his genius which seems to have gone to his head. The grandeur is not a delusion, but he's milking it for all it's worth.

You know life is what you make of it". That trite cliché has always irritated the holy feck out of me, for so many reasons that I could write a book on it (and maybe will, if I ever get the time). That yer man's used the cliché repeatedly in this song pretty much devalues the lyrics to the standard of Christmas cracker mottos, IMO. It doesn't help that he's never been much cop since his greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts partnership with Garfunkel.
Excellent lyrics! {#Clap}
 Cynaera wrote:
I like this song. It's Paul Simon, inverted.  He's changed his style, but the lyrics are still wicked-good.  {#Music}
 
"Wicked-good"?  Are you from New England or something?

I like this song. It's Paul Simon, inverted.  He's changed his style, but the lyrics are still wicked-good.  {#Music}
I'm gonna make a chicken gumbo
Toss some sausage in the pot
I'm gonna flavor it with okra
CAYENNE pepper to make it hot
You know life is what we make of it
So beautiful or so what
I'm gonna tell my kids a bedtime story
A play without a plot
Will it have a happy ending?
Maybe yeah, Maybe not
I tell them life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what

I'm just a raindrop in a bucket
A coin DROPPED in a slot
I am an empty house on Weed Street
Across the road from a vacant lot
You know life is what you make of it
So beautiful or so what

Aint it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and Love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what

Four men on the balcony
Overlooking the parking lot
Pointing at a figure in the distance
Dr. King has just been shot
And the sirens long melody
Singing savior pass me not
Aint it strange the way we're ignorant
How we seek out bad advice
How we jigger it and figure it
Mistaking value for the price
And play a game with time and love
Like a pair of rolling dice
So beautiful, so beautiful
So what


 Sasha2001 wrote:
Mmmmmm... This smacks of a once - great songwriter trying real hard to write one more good song. I like the Memphis theme but where's the melody?
 
Yes, Paul has given us SO much great music over the years, I think we can cut him a little slack on this rather flat effort.

Mmmmmm... This smacks of a once - great songwriter trying real hard to write one more good song. I like the Memphis theme but where's the melody?
 Stingray wrote:
VERY-VERY-VERY-VERY-VERY GOOD!!!!
  Yes. 9.

VERY-VERY-VERY-VERY-VERY GOOD!!!!
{#No}...#4


This has got a cool guitar lick to it...  I am waiting for the middle eight... waiting...  oops, there is nothing there... the guitar just stopped...  now the cool lick is back...  hmmmm...

I will leave it unrated for now...

yeah, it sounds like it was recorded in the studio at his house...

 


Sounds like the world music version of P.S.