You Win, Bungalow Kid

Scott Helman – Bungalow

God damn, did that song ever annoy me when it first came out. Don’t ask me exactly why, but Jesus, I hated it. Best I can explain it, it was some combination of good lord it sounds whiny, I feel like he’s trying to cram too many fucking syllables into some of these lines here and…something else I could never bring fully into focus.

So when Carin emailed me before we went to see Colin James a couple of weeks ago and said “Did you know he has an opener? It’s some guy named Scott Helman. Any idea who that is?”, I was a little annoyed. I believe my exact response was “Ahh Christ, it’s that damn Bungalow kid! Must…keep…open…mind…”

And I’m glad I did.

For months, all I’d been hearing was how good he is for somebody so young (he’s 19 I believe), how much stage presence he has, how good his lyrics are, how musically mature he is, how he’s one to watch, next big thing in Canadian music…all the stuff journalists, radio folks and music snobs love to trot out when describing something you’re supposed to like but you think sucks.

But he really doesn’t suck.

Basically from the moment he started playing, I had a feeling I was wrong, and by the end I was sure of it. I still wouldn’t call Bungalow my favourite song, but I know now that the problem is that for whatever reason the album version just didn’t translate as well to me. Hearing it live has at least gotten me to the point where I can listen to it and dig it some, but more importantly, to a place where I won’t dismiss anything else he does just because it’s him and miss out on something I might like a whole lot better. Something like Machine, which he says he wrote after watching his friends be glued to their phones while they were supposed to be out having fun.

Live, when he hit the last chorus, the band stopped playing, he stepped away from the microphone and just let the strength of his voice carry it. Nice bit of symbolism, I thought.

Or Lion, about a friend and his recovery from addiction.

There are others too, like his cover of Leonard Cohen’s Tower of Song which I can’t find but proved once again what I always say, that anybody but Leonard Cohen can make Leonard Cohen songs sound fantastic. Oh, and this, which we discovered after buying his EP, which is available everywhere.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HN-NKsBLoOc

I bet Carin’s day is made now.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I’m not always right, and that sometimes first impressions aren’t the right impressions. You’ve made yourself a couple of new fans, Bungalow Kid.

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