Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Scott Walker Series, #12: Scott Walker- Scott 4 (1969) MP3 & FLAC

"What can it cost to give a boy child back his sight?"

I've always seen Scott Walker as an artist out to deconstruct his own chosen art-form. What I mean by this is that his best work actively seeks to play with, and occasionally undermine, not only the conventions determining what a pop-song can do, but also the conventional attitudes and expectations brought to the listening experience by an audience. While Walker was no stranger to experimenting with the formal structure of a song, Scott 4 marks the place where he began to rethink the aesthetic ambitions of his music. The music he had become identified with through his contributions to The Walker Brothers and his early solo work tended to embrace the romanticized image of a beautiful, world-weary despair; however, by the time of Scott 4, Walker began to introduce dissonance into the musical mix. On songs such as "The Old Man's Back Again," one can hear subtle hints of this in Walker's vocal phrasings, beautiful to be sure, but also refusing to allow the listener to identify completely with the melody. This approach is something Walker would revisit to more startling effect 25 years later with his second masterpiece, Tilt. With Scott 4, Walker tumbled out of the commercial spotlight (although this might have had something to do with originally releasing the album under his given name Noel Scott Engel) and toward his present status as mercurial genius with a cult following; all this aside, it is undeniably the uncompromising masterpiece of his early solo career.

Scott 4 (2000 HDCD Remastered Edition)
 1. The Seventh Seal  (4:57)
 2. On Your Own Again  (1:48)
 3. The World's Strongest Man  (2:21)
 4. Angels of Ashes  (4:21)
 5. Boy Child  (3:38)
 6. Hero of the War  (2:28)
 7. The Old Man's Back Again (Dedicated to the Neo-Stalinist Regime)  (3:43)
 8. Duchess  (2:50)
 9. Get Behind Me  (3:15)
10. Rhymes of Goodbye  (3:04)


  1. I know there's a good reason you posted this and since there are whole areas of the music scene that I totally missed I am trusting your good taste. Thanks too for your write up. Any artist that actively "deconstructs" his art form is an artist to listen to.

  2. A wonderful album. Opens with a retelling of Ingmar Bergman's film of the same name ... and goes on upwards and outwards. Also, check out that bass in 'The Old Man's Back Again'. A wonderful post.

    I already own this album, but I urge those who don't to download now. Maybe his best album above all else.

  3. scurfie, if one were to own only one Scott Walker album, this is it.

  4. Anon. I love the bass in "The Old Man" too. Such an amazing song!

  5. Ah, the pièce de résistance. One of my favorite albums. I strongly urge everyone to listen to this one!

  6. wolfspider, yes, this one is definitely top 5 for me. An absolutely essential listen

  7. This album broke down my entrenched resistance to "crooners", though Mr. Walker is a crooner of a singular sort. My high school girlfriend once compared Brendan Perry to Frank Sinatra. It was an innocent observation, but it infuriated me at the time. How dare she compare DCD to something so pedestrian? This girl was obviously a tool of the archons! A couple of years later I discovered a much more fitting predecessor for Mr. Perry, namely Scott Walker. "Boy Child" even sounds like something that could have been on "Aion", 20 years before the fact! Scott Walker was ahead of his time, and remains so.

  8. wolfspider, I've heard Perry's voice compared to Sinatra too. I guess there's a passing resemblance maybe, but like you, I see Perry as one of Walker's progeny (along with Cave, Sylvian, Bowie, Cocker, the list goes on and on)

  9. Never forget the very talented Mr. Chris Connelly. He even covered a Walker tune on his first solo album. If you haven't checked him out, you should. Don't let the Wax Trax and Ministry connections turn you away from this great artist. Not that I am in any way trying to sully the name of Wax Trax, it served me well for many years.

  10. Jeff, I have all of Connelly's albums and have contemplated a series at some point. But I will definitely post him in the near future (one of the early ones)

  11. ...Hero of the War!!!

  12. thanks a lot voixautre for this .i have his first two solo albums which introduced me brel one of my favorite song writers . thanks again

  13. links are dead - any chance for this to be re-upped?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.