You Can Call Me Al

This blog post discusses the difference between content and subject matter of Paul’s Simon’s You Can Call Me Al.


The subject matter of the song tells a disjointed story of human existence from the perspective of a man. The literal lyrics seem rather nonsensical, particularly the refrain where the singer suggests if you’ll be my bodyguard, I can call you Betty and you can call me Al, although the singer of the song is named Paul.

The content of the song is where things get rather interested. Essentially a man reflects on his existence and wants to elevate himself above his regular boring existence. There’s definitely some spiritual insinuations, especially in the last verse where he sings:

  He looks around, around
  He sees angels in the architecture
  Spinning in infinity
  He says Amen! and Hallelujah!

He spends the first two verses questioning human existence and its sins through lines like He says why am I soft in the middle now, He says why am I short of attention, and Where’s my wife and family.

The final verse he describes a scene where the man is in a foreign land, unfamiliar territory. Through this foreign or perhaps spriitual environment he is able to see angels in the architecture.