NPR Choice pageThis record is worth getting, if only for the cover, which captures the amazing resemblance of Simon and Garfunkel to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, respectively. Or maybe Avedon has merely captured them at their high-fashion best. It is hard sometimes, to find out who is putting whom on. Someone has succeeded. It is nice enough, and I admit to liking it, but it exudes a sense of process, and it is slick, and nothing too much happens. It is, also, and this is certainly not a fault per se, not rock and roll, whatever that is.
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The duo had risen to fame two years prior with the albums Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and the soundtrack album for the film The Graduate. Bookends is a concept album that explores a life journey from childhood to old age. Side one of the album marks successive stages in life, the theme serving as bookends to the life cycle. Side two largely consists of unused material for The Graduate soundtrack. Simon's lyrics concern youth, disillusionment, relationships, old age, and mortality.