Friday, December 08, 2006

171. Scott Walker - Scott 4 (1969)

Track Listing

1. Seventh Seal
2. On Your Own Again
3. World's Strongest Man
4. Angels Of Ashes
5. Boy Child
6. Hero Of The War
7. Old Man's Back Again (Dedicated To The Neo Stalinist Regime)
8. Duchess
9. Get Behind Me
10. Rhymes Of Goodbye


This is the second Scott Walker album reviewed here, and they have both been a revelation. I loved Scott 2 for its self-knowing cheesiness, like a good version of Richard Cheese. With Scott 4 there are some elements of the same thing, but it feels much more like an adult album.

Scott 4 is a truly strange thing, the music sounds in parts like post-Morricone Spaghetti Western fare and at other times more like Dead Can Dance, and there is definitely more of a somber sound to this album. Another thing that must be said in its favour is the amazing and educated lyrics of the album, all of them written by Scott himself.

Scott's albums are a strange beast indeed, and I'd imagine people will either love them or hate them and I fall in the first camp. I really love this. The grandness of the arrangements contrasting with the introspection of the lyrics make it both unique and extremely strong. Scott Walker is a genius, although you probably wouldn't say it after a first listen through his albums.

We have hit quite a vein of great albums in a row on this list, and it isn't stopping here. You can stream this from Napster or buy it from Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Boy Child
2. The Seventh Seal
3. The Old Man Is Back Again
4. Angels of Ashes

Final Grade



Interview from the BBC's Culture Show:

From Wikipedia:

When Walker released his fourth solo LP, Scott 4, his first made up entirely of his own material, an artistic Rubicon was crossed. The ballads and Brel were gone and the Walker sound pared down. References to topics like the figure of death in a song version of Ingmar Bergman's famous film, The Seventh Seal, or to Sartre's analysis of Stalinism in The Old Man's Back Again, make this a significant work of art for those willing to listen.

Unfortunately, many did not and it failed to chart. Walker had left the pop buying public behind. Perhaps, they were confused by the lack of similarity between the Scott TV shows and the bare, demystified approach of Scott 4.

The fact that it was originally released under his birth name of Noel Scott Engel, rather than the familiar Scott Walker brand, possibly contributed to its chart failure. Some of these failings may also be laid at the door of poor management. Walker was a large and difficult artist to handle.


Anonymous said...

Scott Walker,

Fantastic isn't it ... I have Tlit and Drift ... but I had nothing of his first period ... I listened to Sott 4 now and soon I will listen to Sott 2.... and guess what ... that man is a true genius ... Knowing his hit with the Walker Brothers ... 'Sun ain't gonna shine anymore' ... Now Scott 4 and having Tilt and The Drift ... it is now clear that this man develops a new style ... or brings a style to a strange and new hight .... I would recommend you to listen to those two albums that are not on the list ... They are experimental ... but you will understand what I mean ...

By the way I bought some of your suggestions ...
Lady In Satin - Billie Holliday
Stephen Still - Manassas

Both fantastic ...

I would suggest you to listen to some Albums of David Sylvian. (not on the list but ...who cares)
Secrets of the Beehive (masterpiece)
Brilliant Trees
And Gone To Earth

Keep up the good work.

Francisco Silva said...

Hi anonymous: yeah Scott Walker is great, if you like his first period also try to get David Ackles' American Gothic album, really worth it.

Yeah, those are two amazing albums.

I love David Sylvian :) Well, he is represented through Japan on the list, it could be worse, but Secrets of The Beehive at least deserved inclusion. Unfortunately it's just The Quiet Life by Japan on the list, Gentleman Take Polaroids and Tin Drum also deserved to be here.