Scott Walker RIP

Along with Bob Dylan, Scott Walker has been part of my deep listening world since the 1960s. I found it hard to believe when I read the news this morning.
From Scott through to Bish Bosh and Soused it has been a journey of a life -

And I used to be a citizen
And I never felt the pressure
I knew nothing of the horses
Nothing of the thresher
Paolo, take me with you?
It was the journey of a life

Farmer in the City has never ceased to mesmerize, and I’m hardly sure I understand a word of it. But the sound …

[Earlier I deleted this post in error, reinstating it here - apologies to those who had supported it.]


One of those artists more talked about than listened to. I’m a huge fan of individuals who truly go their own path but boy did he make some unlistenable stuff. Scot 4 is a difficult one. It always represented a sort of ultimate hipster cool amongst a certain group of my friends and I never really got it. It always struck me as a tepid retread of stuff done better by non-English speakers. Years later I was sat in the pub with the same friends and they all admitted that it was hipster cool and none of them really got it at all. I grudgingly admire rather than like it but can’t say it’s a go to album.

Hey Mike. You’ve no doubt gathered that several of us hipsters here differ with your assessment. I don’t think Scott 4 is remotely difficult; I would reserve that description for some of his later work. And even there, Tilt, The Drift and Bish Bosch reward the work you put in as a listener.

Taste is subjective. Decorum is less so. A group of friends in a pub are entitled to call Scott 4 “hipster cool,” or anything they want. But using words like “unlistenable” and “tepid retread” in an “RIP” thread is insensitive at best.


Very sad news, enjoying his later material


A genuinely odd and somewhat misguided post.

I would urge you re-read my post with a tad more care. I did not at any point say that Scott 4 is difficult. I said that it’s “a difficult one” i.e. what it represents culturally and how it sounds are divergent to some extent and not easily reconcilable. In no way do I find it a difficult listen. Not that I have any issue with difficult listens. I love Tilt for example. Rather I found it a smooth but rather pretentious listen. Great singing but wholly derivative of a number of artists. My friends and I have often thought that were the same album to have been made by someone like Aznavour or Brel it would to some extent have been viewed as a facsimile. As you say, it’s all personal opinion. I was not however aware that you were administering or policing the thread and determining the range of acceptable viewpoints.

FWIW I find your comments about “decorum” offensive. It is no less subjective and subject to arbitrary standards than anything else. There are no forum rules about what can or cannot be posted on an RIP thread and it is entirely normal within, for example, an obituary to find views expressed about the merits or demerits of a person’s activities or choices. Whilst I do not for a moment think I have spoken ill of the dead you may also want to read many of the excellent articles available on why such an ancient superstition is largely irrelevant. Some people will agree with that and some will not. Bit like a forum really. A range of views is healthy.

Cue largely off topic discussion which will of course wholly depart from observations of Scott Walker. Having said that I’d much rather stay on topic and observe that both The Drift and Bish Bosch will possibly in the longer term offer much more musical pleasure and possibly influence than Scott 4. Indeed some of the best, most insightful writing on Scott makes exactly that point. They’re also 2 if the 3 albums of his I listen to most often.

The thrust of your initial post was plain enough, as was my response. You could try explaining yourself more carefully in future, but hey-ho.

And who said anything about forum rules? It was a question of common decency. Using words like “unlistenable”, “pretentious” and “derivative” on this thread in the days immediately after Scott Walker’s death was crass and inappropriate, whatever your attempted justification.

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Appears that only you think/believe this and seem to want a fight over it. I won’t engage further over it but please don’t try and impose your own morality on me and pretend it’s common decency. Flagged it as OT to admin and strongly suggest you move on quickly.

You didn’t see the “3” under my first reply, then?

Anyway, I would be more than happy to discontinue debating this, or any other, topic with you.

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I’m a total newbie, so I don’t want to make a mess on the carpet before the dancing starts. I couldn’t ignore this one though.
As a big fan of Scott Walker, I’ve been listening to him a lot lately. Yesterday, in my first forum post, I sang the praises of Scott 4. I was surprised to come here and read some of the criticisms of that album, which I consider a masterpiece.
It sounds the exact opposite of derivative to me. I didn’t come to it until the 80s, but even then it sounded original and adventurous. Scott 4 is not as groundbreaking as the work to come decades later, but was/is fantastic.
Anyone can hear the Jacques Brel influences, but Walker had moved on. For the first time, he wrote everything on the album, including a song about Ingmar Bergman, and another about Stalin. That’s a massive artistic journey in only a few years. Teen heartthrob, to fan and purveyor of European art song. Extraordinary music and singing too. I agree that it can be taken as pretentious, but I don’t think he gave a damn about that, and neither do I.
Anyway, I see this thread already turned contentious (never a good idea to get on the wrong side of an aggrieved Glaswegian!), so that’s enough from me.


You are correct Scott 4 is a masterpiece. But given that it was deleted not along after it was released we can only assume that a lot other people at the time missed this point.


Shiver me timbers, Cap’n, but I’m actually a big pussycat. And I couldn’t agree more about Scott 4.

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