I'm waiting for the bus. The rain's coming down hard for the third day in a row. I've got my headphones in, and Scott Walker is singing. "It's Raining Today" is the opening track from his third album. A beautiful album cover: a close-up of a girl's eye, Walker reflected in her pupil.
The song is perfect. It opens with these quiet, discordant strings, and they continue throughout. Then came the singer. Scott Walker's got a vintage crooner's voice. He sounds like Tony Bennett, if you had a nightmare about him. There's a warm, folksy guitar guiding his voice through the melody, but beneath it, all those grinding, nervous strings don't let up.
It's a love song. Walker's reflecting on a past romance. But remembering a beautiful thing can give you an uneasy feeling because the very act of remembering reminds you that it is in the past. And so the strings grind on. And the song is a nice dream in the middle of a restless night. It is a warm memory in the head of a man caught out alone in the rain.