Let me just start by saying it doesn’t get much better than Will Johnson. And…well…his new album, Scorpion, is one I can’t seem to live without. So believe me when I say that I feel more than comfortable ending the review now. I mean, c’mon, who’s more amazing than Will Johnson? However, for the sake of Common Folk Music and you, the reader, I probably should elaborate a bit more.
Scorpion is different from previous projects and his last release. It’s quieter, more personal, and raw. The album itself varies slightly from track to track, and I know there isn’t away for me to eloquently put into words Scorpion‘s sound or style, and I definitely can’t explain its affect on me. I guess, you or I, could say that it has had me in a hypnotic hold since its release last month.
It’s hushed moody and pensive nature fits perfectly in my wheelhouse, and, not to mention, “You Will Be Here, Mine” may be a perfect representation of what has been going on in my personal life. And, I confess, I’m that “full-time grownup fool” constantly asking “What to do with the golden beast of love?” It’s an emotionally exhausting song that feels like a relationship coming apart at the seams containing an understood sense of doubt, uncertainty, desire, happiness, and release. A simple and intimate song with subdued guitar and a steady percussion that helps it to unravel slowly and sadly building toward a release at the end.
Will then takes an ominous turn in “Rosanky”, “Bloodkin Push (Forget The Ones),” and “Blackest Sparrow/Darkest Night” All foreboding in different ways: “Rosanky” is an instrumental piece that prominently features percussion and bass while “Bloodkin Push (Forget The Ones)” wavers from delicate to clunky, clanging, and heavy, then back to delicate again. “Blackest Sparrow/Darkest Night” is almost prophetic with subtle religious and apocalyptic overtones surrounded by gentle acoustic and electric guitar and Will’s wispy vocals. It’s quite gorgeous.
This brings me to “Scorpion.” Quietly beautiful and heartbreaking with Will’s slightly pained voice singing the opening lines “Honey, war is woven in our touch/ There’s promise in our sleep,” you know right then that this going to be a battle-weary track. It’s truly moving and touches something deep within me.
So, the long and the short of it all is, Scorpion is the golden beast of albums in 2012. It’s an album with an organic brilliance that has me playing it all the time. But, it’s not as simple as just liking Scorpion or wanting to listen to it all the time…oh, no…it’s actually a primal urge.