KODACHROME | Reviewer: CHUCK
There were two main types of film when simon wrote that song: Ektachrome, which required less light, but usually produced pictures on the blue/green side, and Kodachrome, a much slower film, but one that absorbed and reproduced more vivid colors. Memories are always brighter than reality, which is what I think he says here. Long live Simon and Garfunkel, and long live Kodachrome!
the meaning of kodachrome | Reviewer: dav | 8/11/09
Paul Simon was shopping for a new camera and the sales associate in the camera store told him if he wrote a song about a name brand camera that he'd probably get a free one. Then the idea hit him, and he wrote the song about a Nikon camera and then he figured he'd include Kodachrome film, that way he'd get free film for life.
If I ever write a song it's gonna be about TacoBell. Free taco's for life! Whooo Hoooo!!!!
His single days | Reviewer: Michael | 7/2/09
I'm kind of surprised at some of the interpretations here, which don't make anything of the fact that he refers to "when I was single".
I take this song to be about the desire of a married man to hang on to his memories from his girling-around days, which like Kodachrome are a little brighter than reality was. I assume that the 'mama' is his wife, who he resists being tied down by. His former girl friends, brought together now, are seen in black and white because after marriage women are either his wife or not his wife...without all the subtle possibilities that suggest themselves about every girl you know when you're single.
Kodachrome now immortalised by Paul "the songsmith" Simon | Reviewer: Dai Hard | 6/24/09
A Fantastic song whatever meaning you attribute to it altho I prefer a more literal interpretation. However with Kodak finally pulling the plug on Kodachrome this week it takes on a new significance. Paul has written very few bad songs and his alliterative skills are second to none a true songsmith possibly the twentieth centuries best. Kodachrome has always been a favourite of mine and now it sit's nearer the top. Shame he didn't have a Canon however praps it's artists licence as Nikon scans better esp with the american pronounciation. This should be in anyones top 100 tunes.
Hungry for Cameras | Reviewer: Fat Barney
I read in an article in GQ about 3 years ago that Paul Simon played the bassoon in high school and took a photography class and had to develop film in the school dark room. He lost his virginity to a homely girl one night after school. The Nikon was a school camera, and Kodachrome was the type of camera that hustler used for porn. He didn't want his mom to take his hustler magazines away. Not really appropriate subject matter for decent humans.
Playboy magazines | Reviewer: Amanda
I was in an english class that focused on this song for about a week. My professor told us its about a teenage boy looking at Playboys. He said that was the kind of film Playboy pictures were shot on. That is why he pleads with his mom to not take his Kodachrome away. And all the girls he knew in high school put together couldn't compare to the ones taken with the Kodachrome.
Well i heard... | Reviewer: Aaron | 1/31/09
Don't know if this is true but just the other day I heard that Paul Simon wrote this song on a bet that he could't write a good song about a camera. So, maybe, just maybe, it's not as serious as all that.
I also have to say that I like the version where he says "everything looks BETTER in black and white" because it makes more sense to me in the context of the metaphor about the girls he knew in high school.
I think this is a happy, upbeat song about moving forward.
Kodachrome | Reviewer: Anonymous | 12/1/08
I just can't figure this one out except that it is about reality vs imaginary. "it MAKES you THINK all the world's a sunny day" The song just keeps going back to the difference between reality and imaginary. He wants to see the world in this sunny day. When he looks at the world in straight black and white, it looks worse. So he loves living in this colorful world. When he talks about all the girls he knew, they aren't what he imagined, but he got to experience the difference. If anyone has seen the movie "24 hour photo" with robin williams (a dark movie in my opinion) he talks about how when we take pictures, it is always of something that we WANT to remember, happy things. Well, from the song it seems that he wants to live in the pictures that he takes of these happy things, and if we looked only at the pictures, we would assume that the whole world only consists of happy things. I don't know if i'm making any sense, these are just my thoughts on the subject!
drug reference | Reviewer: Anonymous | 11/1/08
I always thought they were singing about a 70s LSD called kodachrome. Look at the nice bright colors and the greens of summer, everything looks worse in black and white. Hallucinogen, escapism of the 70s. Mama don't take my kodachrome away.
What I heard | Reviewer: wilbur | 9/24/08
Someone told me once it was about a pervert/peeping tom who lives through photos and imagination, however, that doesn't tally with someone having lots of girls in highschool so I'm doubtful about that.
Keep film cameras clicking! | Reviewer: Peter | 8/5/08
As a photography enthusiast in my mid-40's, I can appreciate both the literal and metaphorical aspects of this song. Trouble is--I don't have a Nikon camera. I own two Minoltas and a Canon. As I die hard film user, I could sing this song to the whole digital industry.
It's a song I should have written | Reviewer: Zack
There have been many times I have used the second verse of this song to describe my relationships with women. In fact, everything does look WORSE in Black and White because it requires you to use your "sweet imagination" to figure out what color things should be. The mental result is usually more hideous than the real thing.
Isn't it ironic? | Reviewer: dbsmall | 2/14/08
Isn't this really a condemnation of reality?
The girls could never match up to his imagination
Real color looked better with kodachrome 'brightening'
And everything looks worse in b&w.
I don't think this is an upbeat song. It's about a guy who'd rather live in dreams than in reality, and who's begging for people to not destroy his illusions, which he's dependent on.
Variations | Reviewer: Koji Okamoto | 1/3/08
Paul used to sing "everything looks WORSE in black and white," then moved to "PALE" and eventually "BETTER", changing the meaning completely the other way around. I am not trying to correct it. Similar things happens once in a while in Paul's songs-- such as the one in his 'Old Friends,' where the old men were "waiting for the sunset" but now "for the sun." As Paul's gotten old, more sympathy to the old is expressed here... I like the ways he revised his lyrics.
I was listening to an oldies station on Sunday. And for the first time I focused on the lyrics. And for the first time I found the true essence of the song. It hooked me and I feel in love with it. I heard it before when it was first released but on Sunday for the first time I really listend and the rest is history.