===================================================The 1990s rediscovery of Scott Walker, hitherto the Pop Star Who Time Forgot, was one of the most gratifying events of the mid-'90s. No man blessed with a voice like that, taste like that, talent like that, should ever have been consigned to the creaky oblivion of oldies radio.
But one needs to tread carefully when plunging into the cult. Even at his best, and particularly at his most recent, Walker can be an excruciatingly difficult taste to acquire.
Move into the early-'70s midpoint of his output, and oftentimes it's simply painful. Never regarded among Scott Walker's finest efforts and a resounding flop when it first appeared in 1971, 'Til the Band Comes In is, retrospectively, the most shocking of all the singer's early albums. His first four, after all, are dramatic slabs of MOR-noir, crucial experiences for anybody eager to discover Brel, Bergman, and a taste for truly surreal pop tones; by their standards alone, surely album number five should have traveled even further astray? It doesn't.
A year earlier, the BBC gave Walker his own TV series, with the assurance that he would concentrate his tonsils on ballads and standards. He fulfilled the brief admirably, and released a soundtrack album to prove it. Unfortunately, 'Til the Band Comes In suggests he never got the saccharine out of his system.
Til the Band Comes In is best left waiting at the stage door. Some "lost classics" were lost with good reason.
===================================================Following the disappointing performance of Til the Band Comes In, Scott Walker returned to middle-of-the-road pop with The Moviegoer. Walker essentially created a harmless mainstream pop album and delivered it without much care. The record did boast some nice arrangements by Johnny Franz, but the music was seldom noteworthy.
===================================================Walker sounds more committed on this record, singing with a greater passion than on any record since Til the Band Comes In, but that still doesn't save Stretch from being anything more than a curiosity for dedicated fans.
===================================================On Any Day Now, Scott Walker tackles some real garbage material and spins what little gold he can from overwrought arrangements of sub-standard cover material.
There is not one original composition on display on Any Day Now, and for an artist who is responsible for absolute masterpieces like Scott 2 and Scott 4 to turn in an album of material this lackluster shows both the cruel machinations of the record industry and true contempt for one's fans. For when you come down to it, this album practically screams "contractual obligation." This is lazy music that aims to satisfy only the lowest common denominator.
===================================================We Had It All follows the same pattern as the previous Stretch, but it leans a little more heavily toward country, as the centerpiece of four Billy Joe Shaver songs indicates. Although the album is still a little musically tentative, and while it is a disappointment to hear no new original material from Walker, We Had It All is his strongest record in years, since the country leanings are a welcome change of pace and he sings with authority throughout the record.
To be honest there is a lot of rather dull MOR cabaret style crooning on Scott 2 and Scott 3 whilst the missing albums seem to be mainly sub-par C&W. Hopefully the track you know doesn't fall into either of these groups.potojr wrote:I only know one SW song ( ) so will make sure I check out a few of the above...
Added to the playlist:Every once in a while, an album comes along that doesn't simply surprise you, it takes you down an alleyway, rips off all your clothes, then hares away with your socks on its head, singing selections from South Pacific. And just before it disappears from view, you notice that David Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Brian Eno are cavorting alongside it, sharing the spoils and plotting further misdeeds.
But whereas John was still locked into the art country balladeering which had always been his forte, and Gary was having trouble completing his allotment, Scott had finally realized that he had more to offer than another Kris Kristofferson outtake. As a writer, he had been all but silent since the late 1960s, when his peculiarly twisted post-pop visions sent solo album after solo album hurtling into a commercial void. Now, however, he was reaching back into that abyss, and emerged with four songs -- "Niteflights," "The Electrician," "Shut Out," and "Fat Mama Kick" -- which not only realigned his entire future career, they also twisted the on-going landscape of rock music itself.
In a perfect world, Scott would have completed the entire album himself, or at least been given an EP to himself. But of course that was not to be, and so Nite Flights appeared with the rest of the boys, the rest of the baggage, and, though both John and Gary at least tried to keep up with their bandmate, their failure was as painful as it was inevitable. Gary's "Death of Romance" and John's "Disciples of Death" are at least vindicated by their titles, but the songs are as thin as their composers voices and could be outtakes from another album entirely. They're certainly from another planet.
Added to playlist:Walker's only album of the 1980s was both a blow for artistic credibility, and a blow against most of his old fans. The voice of the balladeer was still intact, and still even crooned sometimes. But the arrangements backed brow-furrowing, obtuse lyrics with '80s-oriented rock that incorporated some quasi-classical structures. Walker was seemingly more interested in painting abstracts in which the textures counted more than the content.
Yet it was not half as radical as the avant-garde direction he would stake out with his next album ten years later, Tilt.
Added to playlist:Tilt was Scott Walker's first album following over a decade of silence, and whatever else he may have done during his exile, brightening his musical horizon was not on the agenda. Indescribably barren and unutterably bleak, Tilt is the wind that buffets the gothic cathedrals of everyone's favorite nightmares.
Tilt is not an easy album to love; it's not even that easy to listen to. First impressions place it on a plateau somewhere between Nico's Marble Index and Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music -- before long, familiarity and the elitist chattering of so many well-heeled admirers rendered both albums mere forerunners to some future shift in mainstream taste. And maybe that is the fate awaiting Tilt, although one does wonder precisely what monsters could rise from soil so belligerently barren. Even Metal Machine Music could be whistled, after all.
Added to the playlistThis soundtrack is largely made up of compositions by Scott Walker, which the icon made in the vein of his astonishing 1995 album, Tilt. A considerably less modernist operatic approach, and certainly not half as bleak and dramatic, this recording is an elegant score to the obscure French film of the same name. For those who could not get enough of that elegiac masterpiece, they will find aspects of his sprawling avant-garde arrangements here.
Added to the Playlist:If 1984's Climate of Hunter put the MOR in morose, Tilt avoided the road completely and went straight toward the fractured, fraught images inside Walker's nightmares. It was entirely removed from anything that could've been classified as contemporary. The Drift isn't an equally severe leap from Tilt, but it is darker, less arranged, alternately more and less dense, and ultimately more frightening. Maybe it'll make your body temperature drop a few degrees. Working with what Walker has referred to as "blocks of sound," only a few of the album's 68 minutes have any connection to rock music.
...how much more bleak could this album be? None more bleak.
I was close to doing Kate Bush...everybody knows a couple of hits but I doubt that many, outside the dedicated few, could name a single track in the last two decades. I not committing to her next time...something else may have popped into my head by then and taken me down a different path.AlexZ wrote:Good list for ABBA.
Some different with my list, but in summary is GOOD.
Where is "That's Me"?
Can I see anybody female singer in your lists?
I read that initially as "it's Queen's greatest work of unlistenable pretention."...which made me laugh as it seems so apt.NothingFails wrote:Awesome idea for a thread and I plan to check a lot of these links out.
Nick Cave isn't someone I've really checked out, but I like the song "Abattoir Blues"
Not a "Queen II" fan? I know that album splits opinions between camps who think it's Queen's greatest work or unlistenable pretention. I like other albums better but there are some tracks on it I really like such as "March Of The Black Queen" and "Father To Son".
The album is slow-tempoed and you probably have to be in the right mood to sit through it from start to finish...but a couple of the songs are absolutely stunning. 'Into My Arms' and '(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?' were the two singles from the album: if my Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds playlist was only going to a dozens songs long I can fathom no scenario in which they would not make the cut.The Boatman's Call is the tenth studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released in 1997. The album, which is entirely piano-based and a departure from the band's post-punk catalogue, remains one of the most critically acclaimed releases of Nick Cave's career.
Musically, the album's tone is considered sombre and minimalist and marks a major departure for Cave and The Bad Seeds. Moving away from full-band arrangements and character-based narratives, the album's music and lyrics move towards the more intimate sound of Cave's solo voice accompanied by piano or a few other instruments. The tempo is also generally slow, reflecting many of the moods of the songs. Many of the lyrics seem to reflect on Cave's personal relationships and spiritual yearnings at the time of writing. Some songs are thought to be directed at either the mother of Cave's youngest son Luke, Viviane Carneiro (in "Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?") or PJ Harvey, with whom he had a brief relationship around that time (as referenced in "West Country Girl", "Black Hair" and "Green Eyes").
Cave performed "Into My Arms" at the funeral of Michael Hutchence and demanded that the TV cameras be shut off for his performance out of respect for Hutchence.