Emotional Tourist is probably the best way to describe the experience of consuming the art of Steve Scott. Scott takes you on a journey through the heart and soul of human emotions like no other can. So how do you go about creating a retrospective of a career starting in the 1970s that spanned many forms of music as well as spoken word and poetry reading? While there are volumes of brilliant material left off, what you do have on Emotional Tourist is the cream of the crop. A crop that could have easily been an 8-10 disc box set (if you could get some of the unreleased albums out of the dustbins). The people responsible for this compilation probably gave themselves insomnia just trying to contain it all on one disc.
The songs are brilliantly divided into rock music and spoken word halves. Any fan of 80s style alternative/new wave/pop will love the first 9 tracks. My personal favorite is “Love in the Western World”, but fans of The 77s will love Steve’s rendition of a tune he wrote for the band (“A Different Kind of Light”). But all of classics are here – “Ghost Train”, “Sound of Waves”, “Not a Pretty Picture”, and so on.
Steve’s lyrics are just as brilliant as his poetry, so the transition to spoken word is not as jarring as one might think. And it is the spoken word poetry readings on the second half of the disc that take this collection to the next level. Scott has always excelled as a poet. “This Sad Music” was one of his earliest recorded readings, a profound song based on what he saw one day while flipping through channels. My favorite is still “No Memory of You”, probably because actual recordings of the subjects of the poem are used to create the sonic bed that supports the spoken word. Scott never just reads a poem by itself; he always creates a music soundscape that plays along with the poem. This is what ties the second half of the disc with the first half – his readings sound almost like deconstructed songs, as if they are the evolution of what happened on the first part of the album. Or maybe his songs were always just poems set to music all along? Either way, they flow together well.
The packaging on this collection is well done, with recollections on each song written by Scott himself. Fans of Scott that have all of his CDs will want this disc for the booklet alone. Now we can only hope that this album will be the catalyst to getting the powers that be sitting on top of the unreleased Moving Pictures into gear.
[2012 Arena Rock | Purchasing Information: Emotionaltourist.com]