Scott Walker

Any Day Now

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On Any Day Now, Scott Walker tackles some real garbage material and spins what little gold he can from overwrought arrangements of sub-standard cover material. Really, what possessed the man who wrote "Plastic Palace People" to cover Bread's saccharine "If"? Or how about how the orchestration almost completely overpowers him at the end of Paul Anka's "Do I Love You?" Or his affecting a Caribbean patois to match with the tepid pseudo-reggae rhythms of "Maria Bethania"? There is not one original composition on display on Any Day Now, and for an artist who is responsible for absolute masterpieces like Scott 2 and Scott 4 to turn in an album of material this lackluster shows both the cruel machinations of the record industry and true contempt for one's fans. For when you come down to it, this album practically screams "contractual obligation." This is lazy music that aims to satisfy only the lowest common denominator. At the same time though, Walker possesses one of the few truly great voices, and there are flashes of genius in his singing here. "When You Get Right Down to It" showcases his voice especially well, his soaring tenor transcending the banality of the lyrics and creating a performance to rival any of his '60s material. His tough-guy affectations on "Ain't No Sunshine" sound like an influence on Johnny Mathis' lunatic-disco cover of "Night and Day." This album remains, however, best suited to the hardcore fan, and can be safely passed by for everyone else.

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