Review Summary: Slick and debonair- The king of Baroque is back again.
The music of Baroque pop exudes such a beautiful sound. It's an artistic style that thrives on classical arrangements to flourish sensual melodies that radiate elegance and grace, while also assimilating to the upbeat and euphonious appeal of modern pop music. The genre blossomed in the late 1960's, and its distinct sound grew in prominence when it was adopted by popular acts like The Beatles, Nancy Sinatra, The Left Banke, and The Beach Boys. Though these respective artists are often remembered as the initial catalysts that ignited the genre's popularity, Scott Walker's early albums can often be considered the pinnacle essence of Baroque. With each effort expressing the suave and sophisticated demeanor that is the genre's esteem.
His previous eponymously named first effort, Scott
, became renowned for its extravagant display of classical arrangements, which always provided the perfect scenery for Scott Walker's seductive baritone voice. Proving to be an efficacious musical approach, Scott 2
, follows the same formula of its predecessor without really expanding on its concept. But this isn't necessarily a negative trait, quite the contrary. Scott 2 effectively revives all of the vitality and grace of the first album, but the listening experience is less exciting because it is all so familiar, and thus making all of its tricks and turns utterly predictable. But even still, Scott 2 is an enchanting and impressive sequel to its predecessor.
The album opens with the provocative "Jackie"
, one of the many Jacques Brel covers in Scott Walker's repertoire. The overture erupts with an enthralling melodic arrangement of string, wind, and percussion instruments. The musical section is centered around a monotonous but sprightly drumbeat which is ornamented by violin and cello eruptions, as well as an exhilarate brass section. Scott Walker's lyrical narratives are among some of the most outlandish that he's performed yet. Though of course it has often been his repute to touch on darker themes, these indelicate references were often hidden in lyrical ambiguity rather than being openly expressed. "Jackie"
seems to tell the tale of Jacques Brel's depiction of a decadent lifestyle filled with hedonistic appetites for drugs and women, yet as the choral section suggests, our epicurean protagonist sincerely yearns for the simpler life he had as an innocent child. "Next"
, yet another piece by the great Jacques Brel, is a more explicit example of some of the more obscene content of the album. It's a very vivid narration of a sexually distraught man whose life has been plagued with licentiousness and involuntary sodomy.
As I said before, the musical style of the album is identical to the previous album. "Wait Until Dark"
and "Best Of Both Worlds"
exquisitely allude the delicate romantic atmosphere of typical Baroque. The music's all classical instrumentation ornate Scott Walker's vocal deliveries so beautifully, that they will honestly leave the listener bewildered by their majestic bloom. Like its predecessor, Scott 2 often favors a highly orchestral approach, relying on bowed string and french horn instruments to induce melancholic and dramatic harmonies. But there are subtle moments when the album explores a rather different style altogether. Like "The Lady Came from Baltimore"
from the first album, "Black Sheep Boy"
is yet another attempt at a country ballad. It's centered around a prominent acoustic guitar performance, with subtle touches of violin and cello decorations. "The Girls And The Dogs"
exhibits a much more poppier melody than the rest of the album, which is led by an eccentric arrangement of eruptive vibraphone and brass elements. It's an infectiously catchy piece that serves as an ode to the frailty of men. The song compares the habits of man's closest companions- the loyal and affectionate attributes of dogs, which is why they are revered as man's best friend. But, being men, we are cursed with overwhelming desires for the fairer sex, and no matter how malevolent they may treat us, we'll always chase them for more. In the end, Scott 2 provides an enriching and entertaining experience, and as satisfying as it may be, it isn't as memorable as its predecessor, and it's because it doesn't offer any unique attributes that distinguishes from it. Though nevertheless, it is yet another superlative effort from the king of Baroque.