Sunday, March 31, 2019

Scott Walker: Plastic Palace People

A tribute to Scott Walker, who died this week.

But what is it about? Jon Dennis tries to explain:
lastic Palace People is from Scott 2, the most commercially successful of the four revered solo albums Walker released between 1967 and 1969. 
This music is not rock, but it’s effortlessly cool. It was in many ways quite unlike anything else produced at the time. John Franz, who had produced the Walker Brothers, now brought in orchestral arranger Wally Stott. Together they created the lush, expansive soundscapes in which Walker’s sonorous baritone could luxuriate. 
Not rock – but Plastic Palace People has touches of psychedelia. Like Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, we float through the dreamlike verses in 3/4, then suddenly become grounded in 4/4 with the rude awakening of the chorus. String and harp arpeggios rise and fall in the verses before evaporating, the chorus dominated by guitar, tambourine and bass. 
Is Plastic Palace People a dream or a nightmare? The boy in the song, Billy, floats away like a balloon, to his mother’s horror. Amid mockery and violence, Billy descends until he is suspended in a tree, “just hanging there”. A hideous, confusing narrative that wouldn’t be out of place on his later, more obviously confrontational and frightening albums.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

> orchestral arranger Wally Stott
aka Angela Morley.