The title track to this album is a love song, and a lovely one, at that. Simon married singer-songwriter Edie Brickell in 1992, so this song comes nearly 25 years into their marriage.
He asks if they would fall in love again if they met now: "If we met for the first time/ Could you imagine us falling in love again?" The language echoes his song "Old Friends": "Can you imagine us, years from today/ Sharing a park bench?"
(Side note: in that song, he muses, "How terribly strange to be 70." The year this album was released, Simon was 74.)
This song continues: "Words and melody... fall from the summer trees," he says, "So the old story goes." I have never heard the story of songs falling from trees... if any of my readers have, I hope they share that story with me.
Why is this here? Perhaps he means to say that he and his wife pair as well as words and melody, and as naturally as leaves falling from trees.
In any case, how wonderful and amazing that, after two decades and more, he still awaits her very "walk[ing] across his doorway." He is "jittery" with "joy," even. She is like a drug to him: "I cannot be held accountable for the things I do or say," when she is near.
He finds their relationship an "easy harmony," and it must be something when two such great singers actually do harmonize. And when there is a problem, the "old-time remedies" still work.
And oh, problems do happen. Some can be compared to repetitive-stress injuries: "Most of the time/ It's just hard working/ The same piece of clay / Day after day." The "clay" represents the banality of life... or, seeing as how Adam was made of clay, the banality of people.
Other problems lie not within the relationship, but its individual members: "Certain melodies tear your heart apart/ Reconstruction is a lonesome art." Some losses, like the death of a parent or a career downturn, affect one of them more than the other.
What else? "All the carnage." Again, this could refer to death or illness, but also fighting and saying hurtful things, separations and silences-- psychological damage. But these things are discreet and definable.
Others are more effusive and evasive: "All the useless detours." A couple could spend five years in a house neither likes, because each thinks the other one likes it. A couple could take years to decide to get married, or divorced, and just be living in a limbo of inertia.
But despite all these thing, he still believes: "Love endures." The song ends with Simon repeating "I love you" over and over in waltz time, then: "Words and melody/ Easy harmony." When they are in tune, what a beautiful song.
"I love to watch you walk across my doorway," he tells her-- still crazy about her, after all these years.
This is one of the four songs Simon spiced with flamenco on this album; the others are "The Riverbank," "The Werewolf" and "Wristband." In this, some of the rhythms are actually recordings of the dancer's steps.
Some of the guitar was done by Cameroons native Vincent Nguini, who has been with Simon since Rhythm of the Saints.
Next Song: In a Parade