Phil Spector’s great insight was that the massive orchestrations of early 50s pop would compliment the teenage agonies of late 50s pop. Like most really good ideas it proved infectious, and so it was that a new hearthrob group like the Walker Brothers found their singles given the full shock and awe treatment by ersatz Spectors.
Did it suit Scott Walker? Yes, luckily. As a singer Scott’s plumminess plays well off grand arrangements. Set him in a more folksy setting and it can be deliciously strange, but my favourite songs by him are still his shabby 60s solo epics: fantasias of crumpled velvet, always beautifully and heavily arranged.
So the singer was right for the arrangement, but the song I’m less sure about. Scott tries to sing it noble, and I almost believe a man could be this generous about being jilted, but at heart “Make It Easy” is a bitter song and when bitter tries to sound big it usually ends up just seeming more pathetic. Plus for me this arrangement holds back a little – the strings on the verses are a bit too smooth, the drums don’t punch like they might. Scott ends up not sounding that bothered that she’s leaving – which may be the point, perhaps “Make It Easy On Yourself” works best as an extended “I just want what’s best for you” kiss-off.