Written by Maria Arroyo
Canadian singer/songwriter, Scott Helman, releases his new album, Nonsuch Park, out today via Warner Records! Dedicated to his biggest idol, Helman digs deep into his personal life to share his stories through this record. Helman dives into more detail for the purpose behind his new release.
“After some incredible moments,” he says, “I got back into the studio and set my sights on creating my best body of work yet. Then my Papa died. He was my best friend, my biggest fan, and my wisest teacher.” Helman also shares that this opened his eyes to some of the more important things in life, one of them being how short and precious life can be, but also acknowledging the beauty behind it all as well.
It’s no surprise that the song “Nonsuch Park” opens the album. “Each person has a sanctuary within,” Helman explains. “For me, that place was the large park just down the road from my Papa’s house in Sutton, UK – Nonsuch Park…” and just in the weight that this name carries, I know I’m in for a great record.
Helman starts off by creating a very organic atmosphere with some eclectic and electronic sounds, and some original recordings that add a more personal aspect to it. It’s a beautiful look into his personal life, even more so than most songs. “Wait No More” keeps the album light and fun, with so many moments of relatability and likability. I could hear this song going even after it stops.
Helman’s next song “Lois” is probably my favorite off the record. It’s a huge homage to the legacy of Superman, and it’s done so tastefully. Lyrics like “Superman never woulda flown this high without his Lois” make these connections very apparent, but I couldn’t love it more.
In talking about the process of this album, Helman explains one of the biggest lessons he’s learned through this experience. That “love was of the highest importance.” This certainly rings true with his next song “Good Problems.” It’s a great take on how important it is in relationships to realize the little things that mean so much. Helman throws in a bunch of different examples but also dives a little deeper into why having “good problems” is worth talking about.
There are a ton of references dealing with growing up in a divorced household, where some of these problems weren’t so easy to handle. I think I really get to know Helman on another personal level, whether he’s speaking from experience or not. While it’s not something I relate to, I can empathize with so many children and families that are affected by a divorced household. This song really makes me grateful for the life I have, and again, harps on why those little things are so amazing to celebrate.
Another chilling song Helman shares is “Afraid Of America.” The instrumentation of the song keeps it light and flowy, while the concept described in the lyrics is actually quite heavy, but so important to talk about, especially due to the state of our country.
“Meet Again” is a beautiful little snippet into another important moment in Helman’s life, and this became another highlight of the record for me.
Closing off the same way we started is Helman’s final song “Papa.” He really gives his all in every last second of this song. All of the intimate details, the stories, and memories that paint a picture of his hero, all on display for us to appreciate. It’s so emotional and raw, and I thought it was a beautiful way to end the album.
“I picked the best of the bunch,” Helman shares, “and the ones he would have loved (he was very picky!), and put them together for you to hear. This work is a declaration – a declaration of love, meaning, questions, and truth, and it is all dedicated to you, Papa.”
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