It’s rare that artists write their own goodbye, but that’s how Pink Floyd’s Jugband Blues has always sounded to me.

The song was the only one credited to him on the band’s second album, after he had dominated the credits on Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

It is tempting to read too much into the song, to assume Syd knew how the drugs and his apparent mental illness (he was never diagnosed),  and thus chronicled that, as well as the reaction of those around him to his deteriorating state.

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Scott Walker–It’s Raining Today

Because it is…

I’ve always liked the way the strings, arranged by Angela Morley (then Wally Stott), kind of emerge out of nowhere, and how menacing they sound.

This was the opening track of Scott 3, and Morley’s arrangement may be my favorite¬† by her, offsetting Walker’s warm reminiscence of what seems to have been a brief affair.

I know a lot of people think of Walker’s first few albums as being crooner schmaltz, but the inherent tension of It’s Raining Today makes this more like uneasy listening music.

If Scott Walker’s deep, rich baritone were a place, I would go there and never come back.

Simon & Garfunkel–Blessed

The only new composition on what became the second Simon and Garfunkel album, Sounds of Silence, Blessed is a churning, eerie sermon, offering blessings to all manner of folks from the meek and the lamb to the meth drinkers, pot sellers, and illusion dwellers.

These blessings, often incomplete, are interspersed with cries of ‘O Lord, why have you forsaken me’ from a soul clearly in distress.

It’s dark, stark, and disquieting, in part because the almost violent backing track sounds to my ears like it could have slotted easily on the first Velvet Underground album.

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