Scott Walker
Scott 3


4.3
superb

Review

by Hernan M. Campbell STAFF
November 10th, 2012 | 22 replies | 2,847 views


Release Date: 1969 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Scott Walker begins to explore the darker sound that would manifest in his latter albums, while still remaining faithful to his initial Baroque pop style.

Scott 3 introduces a new side of Scott Walker. It's a much more conceptual album. His two previous musical endeavors, Scott 1 and Scott 2, were merely a collection of songs that explored a variety of concepts and styles. Scott 3, on the other hand, has a very distinct theme that seems to exude from every song. The music expresses itself with such overwhelming dismalness. Utterly weary and faint in sound, Scott 3 seems to wallow in its own melancholia. Completely infatuated with reminiscing of past regrets and illustrating gloomy scenes in the mind. In other other words, this is a moody album meant to serve as a kind of soundtrack for our less than optimistic moments in life.

Although Scott Walker has often touched on dark lyrical themes in the past, they've often been delivered in an ambiguous fashion. Evasively decorated with poppy musical textures that gave his songs an almost ironic sense of optimism. But here, his darkness is much more lucid, as there are no euphonic melodies to spoil the listener. Scott 3 is our true acquaintance with the cynical and morbid side of Scott Walker's psyche, and quite frankly, he's become almost too comfortable with this particular aspect of his personality, which will certainly surprise anyone who was hoping to be met with the elegant romantic of the pervious albums. The opening piece, "It's Raining Today", exhibits a rather haunting ambience that lies underneath Scott Walker's soothing baritone voice. There's a typical Baroque arrangement in this song as well, from the gentle guitar playing that carries us along, to the violin and cello melodies of the midsection, but it's the eerie soundscape behind all of the instruments that really distinguishes this particular piece. And as ghastly as it may appear, the sound is very inviting. It's hypnotic, and because its so contrasting to Scott Walker's rather oddly sanguine tone of voice, it makes it an all the more intriguing listen.

"It's Raining Today" is one of the main highlights in Scott 3, and it also introduces the recurring concept of the album. Most of the songs here, particularly ones like "Rosemary" and "Two Weeks Since You've Gone", have a dreary gloom that coats their music in darkness. Both songs have a rather simple baroque orchestration of dominating bowed string instruments, but it's within their lyrics that their sorrow is expressed. Each song seems to lament over some kind of loss, whether it be a past romance or a sense of innocence and pride, but there is a constant yearning for the past, a simpler time when the world looked much brighter. "Big Louise" is yet another song that falls under this category, but it's a much more eminent one because it portrays some of the characteristics of Scott Walker's subsequent experimental efforts. The song opens with an abrasive drone sequence that sets up a rather ominous atmosphere, but as the other instruments begin to flourish in prominence, the music fluctuates into a more mellifluous style. Its lyrics, on the other hand, exude a much more forlorn attitude. "Big Louise" references a discovery instead of a loss. It's about a promiscuous woman who realizes that her life, now coming down from the intoxicating high of hedonism, is left with nothing more than the bitter aftertaste of shame and regret.

"We Came Through" and "Funeral Tango" are the only two pieces to deviate from the gloomy calm of the other songs, but only in their sound are they different because their lyrics are just as lurid as the rest. We really get to see Scott Walker's whimsical sense of humor in these two pieces as we find him critiquing the political state of the world, as well as reciting one of Jacques Brel's poems of the macabre, all while accompanied by overly blithe melodies. At the time of its release, Scott 3 was met with less enthusiasm than his previous albums. Lacking the romantic atmospheres and extravagant classical arrangements of his first two efforts, Scott 3 can easily be considered a grower. It's a step backwards in appeal, but a big step forward artistically. This is Scott Walker relinquishing practically everything that made him a rising star in the 1960's pop scene, to follow his own creative ambitions as an up-and-coming musician. It's not just admirable to see him exploring new musical approaches, but also a reward for us fans to not hear yet another replica of Scott 1. Making the gentle and dreary sound of Scott 3 a welcomed breath of fresh air. Its ominous atmosphere and haunting sounds exude a rather spellbinding effect on the listener, alluring us deeper and deeper into a world of inescapable darkness. But there is a mild sense of optimism that glimmers behind all of the sorrow. One of the techniques that recurs throughout the album is the combination of melancholic orchestrations with Scott Walker's usage of a soothing vocal tone, adding a sense of hope to all of this emotional anguish. Scott 3 may not offer the accessibility of its predecessors, but it does prove that Scott Walker can go beyond the capabilities of the average pop artist. As we find him shifting his venturous instincts into different and utterly dashing shapes.



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user ratings (60)
Chart.
4.1
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2012



4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I thought I'd turn this on before I leave for the Tame Impala concert. I'll comment back later on tonight.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

KILL
November 10th 2012



71134 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

need to listen to this properly 4 rules ass

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



19610 Comments


great review paper pos'd

"this is a moody album meant to serve as a kind of soundtrack for our less than optimistic moments in life."

love this line. i've been having a lot of those moments lately too. i'm gonna check this one out.

one small thing no big deal but i don't think you're supposed to start a sentence with the word but.

Digging: The Who - Tommy

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



19610 Comments


first track is amazing if anyone wants to listen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7D0O2zE8Nk

am i the only one that thinks he sounds similar to frank sinatra!?

AStableReference
November 10th 2012



1844 Comments


Very good review.

And no, you are not the only one; I've heard the comparison made before.

GiaNXGX
November 10th 2012



4867 Comments


You're going to a Tame Impala concert!!!!! `What!???! I'm jealous, good luck tell me how it was if you remember properly, bet you're gonna get high on weed n lsd mate :]

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2012



15881 Comments


have fun at the show and nice review, pos

Digging: Nemrud - Journey of the Shaman

tommygun
November 10th 2012



24176 Comments


Great stuff as always, mate. Pos so hard I cracked the screen on my phone. This guy sounds interesting would I dig him?

Oh yeah, I hope you have a great time at Tame Impala m/

Digging: J Mascis - Tied to a Star

YoYoMancuso
November 10th 2012



10997 Comments


amazing songwriter


have a great time at the show, if they play Bold Arrow Of Time we might have to switch lives. Review was great as well, pos'd hard

AStableReference
November 10th 2012



1844 Comments


TommyGun, definitely give it a try and see.

CaptainDooRight
November 10th 2012



28692 Comments


koo rev, I gotta properly listen too

but pos maine

Digging: Tukaaria - Raw to the Rapine

tommygun
November 10th 2012



24176 Comments


Cheers Stable, will download as much Scott as I can find.

tommygun
November 10th 2012



24176 Comments


double post sup

mindleviticus
November 11th 2012



8199 Comments


I've only heard The Drift and was scared to death by it. Love it though.

AStableReference
November 11th 2012



1844 Comments


His 60s stuff is a pretty different experience, but Scott's work is pretty solid overall (excluding the 70s albums he doesn't like to talk about, Nite Flights not included). If you've only heard the Drift it may be good to instead work your way backwards, starting with Tilt.

Chrisjon89
February 11th 2013



3478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i slightly prefer 4 but this rules.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013



4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

Oh yeah, 4 is better than this one by a long shot. But you're right, this one is good too.

Chrisjon89
February 11th 2013



3478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i prefer his originals to the covers so it kinda loses appeal at the end for me

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
February 11th 2013



4400 Comments

Album Rating: 4.3

I love the covers, especially the Jacques Brel songs. This album is just to dreary and mellow for me sometimes. Like I have to be in the mood for it to play it, when it comes to Scott Walker- I usually go for 1 or 4.

Chrisjon89
February 11th 2013



3478 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

still gotta check 1 and 2. and The Drift and Bish Bosch. I dunno what to make of Tilt but it freaked me out. i usually opt for 4.



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