Scott Walker – Scott 3

Scott 3

Scott WalkerScott 3 Philips SBL 7882 (1969)

Mr. Walker washed away every trace of duality on Scott 3. The beauty of his music comes through its resilience. Like a purple and sepia whirlwind. Fiercely strong from some inner source he taps. The primary mystery of Mr. Walker’s music is the absurdity of its context, casting Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett as steadfast existentialists. Each grand orchestral piece finely feeds personal concerns that meander about without dogma to guide or crush them. The great achievement is the dive into the void of pop crooning. In that void is the perfect space to make something happen. Mr. Walker’s gift was perhaps the vision to find his space, that invisible blank abyss which seemed to have always been in plain view. He recognized something was possible in his space, his nothingness.

This album lives in daylight, like a vista warmed into life by the sun. It is quite a different experience from the nighttime torment of Scott 4. It is lyrically imposing. The songs are difficult to penetrate, alien to prevailing reason. Still, the detached experience of hearing Mr. Walker question prevailing reason is what makes the album such a major achievement.

Though Mr. Walker’s name always carried little cachet in his American homeland, worldwide success wouldn’t have led to Scott 3. To parrot his lyrics, “In a world filled with friends/ you lose your way.”