“The Werewolf” — Paul Simon

“The Werewolf,” taken from Paul Simon’s thirteenth album, Stranger to Stranger, opens with two Simon trademarks–a playful rhyme scheme, and a graceful set-piece narrative about an ordinary American marriage. Things quickly take a turn for the weird, however, when the Milwaukee couple in question find themselves in the afterlife (spoiler: rhymes with ‘sushi knife’) and we find ourselves in an economics lesson which explained more to me in three minutes than any article I read in the eight years of Googling ‘WHAT IS ECONOMY THX?’ “Life’s a lottery, a lot of people lose,” explains Professor Simon, over chopped up Peruvian percussion, hand claps, and a range of Harry Partch-inspired sound effects, “and the winners…with money-covered eyes, eat all the nuggets and they order extra fries.” As he sings, howls are heard in the background, evoking the mythical beast of the title. Whether ‘The Werewolf’ is the spirit of a revolution-in-waiting, or simply a device around which Simon can structure his philosophical stream-of-consciousness, is unclear, but I think of this song as the musical companion to Arundhati Roy’s Capitalism: A Ghost Story. The album it’s taken from is proof of an icon on top form, still capable of making fresh, innovative pop some six decades into his career.—Emma-Lee Moss
“As Long As We’re Together” — The Lemon Twigs

Lemon Twigs are a new band to many, but their music sounds like an old friend. This song, which popped up on their Soundcloud a little over a week ago, could well have been unearthed from a vault of demos from an undiscovered Laurel Canyon-era folk act, maybe named the Brothers D’Addario, as real-life siblings Brian and Michael trade tape-warmed vocals and lush, sweet harmonies over phasing acoustic guitars. The song, which is produced by Foxygen’s Jonathan Rado, wears its lo-fi intentions on its sleeve, and at first it’s only the clarity of percussion overdubs and the honed-in bounciness of plucked stringed instruments that betray its roots in a modern studio. However, once the D’Addario’s have sung their first, anthemic round of “As long as we’re together/ I don’t see what’s wrong with that,” we’re treated to a wide range of post-modern, kaleidoscopic changes (imagine Conan Mockasin set loose in a toy store), including a middle-eight detour which I would comfortably describe as a “synth bath,” and what starts off small and intimate finishes in expansive psychedelia. Perfect for drunk singing in bars after midnight.—Emma-Lee Moss

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