The “Insufferable” Paul Scott is by no means insufferable at all. Maybe he can seem that way to his friends and family, but as a recording artist, he’s nothing but a pleasure for the ears.
Scott is from Sydney, Australia, and this 11-track album is filled with short, melodic tunes. With a title like Surrender to Robots, one might well expect an album filled with science fiction-inspired songs. Not so, though. The last song on the album is called “What Do We Get?,” gives a big hint as to what has actually inspired Scott to create this sort of music. It begins with a spooky, low, modified spoken vocal. It’s is a Vincent Price-like voice that announces: “And those evil tunes/That kept you in your room/From midnight till noon every day.” It wouldn’t be any big surprise if Scott was one of those kids that listened to pop and rock on his headphones all night long. It likely formed him into the music-obsessed man he is today.
The album opens with “We Heard It on the Radio/Golden Times,” which is a synth-y rocker that speaks about the power of music radio upon young ears. It’s intentional that Scott begins and ends his album with songs that address the act of listening to music. When Scott sings about radio, he’s also admitting to his old school heart. Radio doesn’t have the same impact on folks the way it once did. People these days are more likely to discover new music from streaming services, like Spotify and Pandora, or video sites, such as YouTube.
This album’s best song is “Sheila.” It’s a love song to a fellow music fan. Scott begins the song by describing how music sounds on the stereo. He expresses his loyalty to this Sheila by announcing, “There’s nothing that I’d rather do/Than waste my time on you.” The song is built upon a nice, thumping bass line. She’s not his girl yet, though. “Are you gonna walk my way?” he asks/begs. The album includes another song with a girl’s name, “Oh Cheryl.” Scott sings it with a light voice over a pounding piano part.
“We Love You” is one of the album’s quieter, more psychedelic songs. Scott sings atop a stuttering percussion groove that sounds a bit like mid-60s Beatles, which was that great band’s most creative period. There’s little that is science fiction-y or political, for that matter, on this album. One titled “The Polite Riot” includes the word “riot” in it, seems to be socially conscious. But this word is also preceded by the word “polite.” The track features faux horns and organ, for a relatively soulful number. Scott, by the way, played all the instruments and did all singing on his album.
People like Donald Trump, for instance, are oftentimes described as insufferable. Politicians, in general, are insufferable much of the time. The same can’t be said about skillful pop artists, like Paul Scott. In fact, great pop music – like the kind found on Surrender to Robots – is akin to healing balm for those of us so doggone tired of contemporary politics. No, don’t ever surrender to the robots; surrender, instead, to fine pop music — such as this album.