Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scottmania, Part Three

By the time Scott Walker released his third solo album, Scott 3 (1969), he had evolved into a great songwriter. On Scott 3 there are ten original compositions and three Jacques Brel songs. Depending on how you see it, you could say this is Scott's best from this period.

This is definitely Scott's most waltz-oriented album. The album is overall very peaceful and slow and many songs are in 3/4 which could be the reasons why the album didn't do as well as the first two albums. Scott 3 doesn't, in fact, make the best possible album for workout or other situations when you wish to draw energy from what you hear. A very different kind of energy emanates from Scott 3: a melancholic, yet hopeful, peaceful and tremendously beautiful feeling.

It's Raining Today represents Scott's appreciation towards both harmony and dissonance. Big Louise is another song that may sound a bit frightening in the beginning but both of these songs are actually perfectly listenable and lovely. Peaceful songs with big arrangements follow one after another and this pattern doesn't really change much until the end of the album where you find the Brel songs.

Actually, there are a couple of times when the album momentarily turns into something else than a peaceful cradle of hopeful melancholy. We Came Through sounds to me like a medieval battle song – glorious! By this song you will also have noticed that Scott's songwriting leans quite a bit on very traditional pop melodies – the kind of material that is still recycled in pop music today.

30 Century Man, a song that carries the same title as the Scott Walker documentary film (which I highly recommend to watch) is different in the sense that it doesn't have anything else for accompaniment than an acoustic guitar. The song is also a bit more... bluesy than the rest of songs. Many of Scott's songs on this album are sweet and short, and 30 Century Man is the shortest: only 1:29.

Scott's every song is filled with extremely fine imagery. His lyrics might even be too cryptic for some people's taste... I don't understand even half of it. Scott's vocals are obviously beyond perfection all through the album, and the arrangements are just as excellent as always. There are wonderful strings, sometimes also beautiful harp, piano and amazing percussions.

In the end of the album there are three Jacques Brel songs. Sons of is a pretty peaceful waltz, yet it is clearly more restless than any other waltz on this album. Funeral Tango is a great song with macabre lyrics – once again about death but from a very fun perspective. Scott even laughs, kind of. I didn't expect to hear that... Finally, there is If You Go Away. All I can say is... I would definitely consider going away if it meant that Scott would sing this song to me...

Listen while watching the rain!

Music from Scott 3 (YouTube):

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