Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
Bridge Over Troubled Water is a release that quintessentially represents a genre, rather than a record that chronicles its uneven growth. The folk rock scene had been going on for a while, but this is its best and purest expression. World music began its flirtation with pop on this landmark, which also took the folk style (and the New York Bohemian scene it represented) to its songwriting and commercial apex. Furthermore, BOTW explores country and jazz in very inventive ways. Perhaps most notably, Paul Simon finally integrated his poetic musings into fully fleshed-out pop songs on this and its predecessor, Bookends. Bridge is definitely better than the earlier record, because its tunes are way more confident and melodic. Paul’s songwriting was never more eclectic and hooky than it was here, where he uses a full band to outstanding effect. It’s a poignant and strangely placid conclusion to the duo’s career, although their tumultuous creative relationship lies dormant behind the scenes of most songs, the effect of which led to a professional dissolution after this towering artistic peak.
Key track: “Cecilia”
See also: Sounds Of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel (1966), Bookends – Simon and Garfunkel (1968)