The Cinch Review

Paul Simon and The Afterlife

The Afterlife is a newly released track from Paul Simon’s soon-to-be-released album, So Beautiful or So What.

I don’t mind saying that I like it.

I was going to write at greater length on this and related stuff today but Bob got in the way, as is his wont.


For now, I’ll just say that I don’t really get all the buzz about this album being a “return to roots” for Paul Simon. At least, with the two tracks I’ve heard so far (Getting Ready for Christmas Day and The Afterlife) it sounds like he’s just continuing his thing. But continuing your thing of-course means comprehending the past as you stumble into the future.

As for this song, I especially like the way in which Simon tries to reach for the ineffable in the conclusion.

After you climb up the ladder of time, the Lord God is near
Face to face in the vastness of space your words disappear
And you feel like you’re swimming in an ocean of love and the current is strong
But all that remains when you try to explain is a fragment of song
Lord is it Be Bop a Lula, or Ooo Papa Doo
Lord, Be Bop a Lula, or Ooo Papa Doo

Or is it a Wop Bop a Loo Mop a Lop Bom Bom, after all?

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