Simon & Garfunkel

Punky's Dilemma

Song Review by

On the surface, "Punky's Dilemma" is one of the lighter, nonsensical songs on the Bookends album. The casual, almost jazz/bubblegum feel of the music and arrangement is almost juvenile, but this is deceptive. Lyrically, part of the song is about a draft dodger and his moral "dilemma." This is neatly and innocuously set against the pleasures of breakfast food and contentment. But perhaps more important are the references to both Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks, who had just been working on the (never completed) Smile album project. Specifically, the references to relationships to food are probably from the song "Vegetables." The sunny, casual, and almost comedic feel of the music and arrangement were indeed themes of the Smile project, and "Punky's Dilemma" comes across as a tribute rather than a parody.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bookends 1968 Columbia 3:19
Collected Works 1981 Columbia 2:17
Old Friends 1997 Columbia / Legacy 2:13
The Very Best of Simon & Garfunkel: Tales from New York 2000 Columbia / Legacy 2:14
The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970 2001 Legacy / Columbia 2:17
No Image 2002 Sony Music Distribution 2:13
The Essential Simon & Garfunkel 2003 Columbia / Legacy 2:13
Bookends/Sounds of Silence 2009 Legacy 2:17
The Essential 3.0 2010 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:13
The Complete Albums Collection 2014 Sony Legacy 2:16
Tripping Down the Alleyways 2017 Go Faster Records 2:19