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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever

 
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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 10/10/2011 8:27:48 PM   
Piles


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Scott 4 or Scott I'd say.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 10/10/2011 8:30:56 PM   
Piles


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rhubarb

29 Track 3 (Walker)




After the success of his first 3 solo albums, Walker went on to make Scott 4, which is his best album, but failed to chart (will go into theories as to why in other entries) this forced his hand back to doing more cover versions and gradually going through a period of lost MOR stuff which is fairly impossible to find (due to Walker blocking anyone trying to re-release it). After these Wilderness years, his reformed The Walker Brothers, and finally made the album he wanted to make with them, with Nite Flights, an album that Brian Eno (who knows his shit) thinks was so far ahead of its time, and that its disgraceful noone has caught up. Anyway, Nite Fights was an experimental beast, and it suggested the direction that Walker was going to head in when he re-emerged.
Climate of Hunter would turn out to be his only album in the 1980s, and it is absolutely brilliant and set the tone for the latter part of his career. The lead single from this album was Track Three, which appropriately, was track three.
A super claustrophobic atmosphere resides over the whole track, but unlike some his later work, it retains some tropes from pop music, there is even a guitar solo at one point. Walker's vocals are kind of shocking if you are expecting the deep pool of beauty from his Walker Brothers period, its distorted and a bit scary. There is some absolute beauty in it though of course, but a different kind, and something to get used to toward his later work.

There is an absolutely amazingly awkward interview where Walker turned up on 80s cult pop show The Tube, where neither interviewer or interview are really comfortable with the situation, you can watch it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=3e8vpoj0lDs#t=169s and the full proper video is on the end.

Find it on: Climate of Hunter, or the Track Three single if you want to scour ebay.


That is the most bizzare and brilliant interview ever.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 11/10/2011 3:01:36 PM   
matty_b


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rhubarb


27 Montague Terrace (In Blue) (Engel)



After chosing to open his début solo album with a cover of Jacques Brel’s Mathilde (more on him in a bit), Monatague Terrace is significant in that it is arguably the first really significant song penned by Walker himself (though credited to his birth name of Noel Scott Engel, like most of his work from this period) it is also arguably the best of the self penned songs from his first solo album. The scene set as a couple dreaming of a slightly better time than the dank cold day they find themselves on, in a place they don’t want to be in, but they know (don’t they?) and they’ll dream (won’t they) of the titular place. You can feel Brel’s influence in the lyrics, as the narrator scans the streets in a Rear Window style appraisal of the street he finds himself on, cheekily noting of one “her thighs are full of tales to tell”.
But the real star of the show is Wally Stott, who did the arrangements for this record, as well as the next couple. Real name Angela Morley, she had previously worked with the likes of Shirley Bassey, and it is her perfect arrangements that would come to define Walker’s early solo work, and when people like The Last Shadow Puppets try and “do” Scott Walker, it is Stott that they are imitating.

Find it on: Scott
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLOTAJQF0Fo



Just listened to this one again and part of it reminds me of Joy Division's Atmosphere, bizarrely.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 13/10/2011 2:46:32 AM   
Rhubarb


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Harry Tuttle

Where would the denizens of Empire suggest a newbie to Scott Walker starts then?



Would say, probs the Scott albums are the place to start, although maybe if you click and like the scarier stuff there will be other places to look.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 13/10/2011 5:14:49 PM   
Rhubarb


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25 Two Weeks Since You’ve Gone (Engel)



Obviously one of the main draws with Scott Walker, especially in sixties, is that incredible voice, and this is one of my favourite vocal performances. The arrangement, by Wally Stott, is a stirring, but simple (obviously beautiful, a frequently overused word in this thread) string thing, and it is left for Walker to carry to melody on his own, and he does so absolutely brilliantly.
Lyrically, we’re back in fairly familiar territory – a girl has left Scott – so he’s walking around the streets hoping she’ll happen to him again, and he avoids going to some familiar haunts because of previous social faux-pas’s he has made. It is a haunting, human song.
It was originally released as the B-Side to The Lights of Cincinnati, which is a fine song, but nowhere near as good as its gem of a flipside. Fortunately Walker appreciated the song, and included it on his Scott 3, which is nice as The Lights of Cincinnati got no such treatment (although the US wing of his record label replaced his 30 Century Man with TLOC which wasn’t released in the US as a single), showing that he had a keen ear for what he wanted to do, even if his record company and to an extent the record buying public did not – a theme which would repeat for the rest of his career until in the ninties when he was finally given carte blanche to do what he liked.

Find it on: Scott 3

Listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2I8JFc2Q_-Q


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 13/10/2011 5:16:37 PM   
Rhubarb


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24 Amsterdam (Brel/Shuman)



In one of Pop’s most odd subplots, it was a playboy bunny girl who turned a pop heartthrob onto a Belgian chansour who sang songs about sex and death. She apparently had a tape of one of his albums (it is fair to assume by the songs that Walker would choose to cover, that it was probably his live album, Olympia ’64) and played it, and Europhile that he was, Scott Walker became obsessed and determined that everyone should hear this man’s music. Walker happened upon erstwhile Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham and talked to him about them, The Loog put him in touch with Mort Shuman who was doing translations, Walker secured the chance to record the translations first, and voilá.
There is little doubting the influence of Brel in this period on Walker, and on his first three albums there are a whole range of Brel covers (as well as his own Brel influenced music). One that crops up on his first solo album, Scott, is Amsterdam, a wonderful visual portrait of the titular city. It is essential Brel, all sailors and whores, chefs, birth and death. While Brel didn’t posses Walker’s incredible singing voice, he did have a certain theatricality, and particularly on the early Walker covers, you can feel him try to imitate that certain over-the-topness than made Brel so great, here he builds slowly, but the end it is a fantastic crescendo

Find it on: Scott.

Listen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZPN07Q8g-k

Bonus, the Brel version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMzAmrNS164



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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 13/10/2011 5:57:43 PM   
Lazy wolf eyes


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I love Amsterdam. I can never decide whether I prefer Brel's or Walker's though. I love the orchestration on Walker's, it's so over the top and classy that the juxtaposition of the lyrics makes it a lot of fun.  Brel's doesn't have that fab orchestration but his performance is so full on and intense it's hard to top. As you've mentioned, Brel's voice isn't in the same league as Walker's, but he makes up for that in passion.

Dare I say the Bowie cover is a big pile of poo? Yes, I dare!


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 13/10/2011 9:39:49 PM   
Rhubarb


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lazy wolf eyes
Dare I say the Bowie cover is a big pile of poo? Yes, I dare!



Yes, agree. I also don't like his My Death as much as Walker's.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 25/10/2011 2:16:58 PM   
Piles


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It's funny, I was once talking about Amsterdam with two friends and they both loved it, but I was mainly talking about the Walker version, one of my friends the Brel, and the other the Bowie. Okay, it's not that funny, but still interesting how cover versions can influence how one looks at a song.

I think it's my fave Walker song, even if that Brel video you posted pisses all over Scott's. Absolutely fantastic rendition.

This better not have died.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 25/10/2011 3:28:36 PM   
MovieAddict247


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Great, great song (only 24th?)

That video of Brel is amazing - what a performance.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:17:52 PM   
Rhubarb


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23 Bouncer see Bouncer… (Walker)



Arriving in 1995, at the epoch of Britpop, the time was ripe for lots of artists who made it big in the 60s, which were being endlessly celebrated at the time, to make a comeback into the limelight and make a few quid off their reputation. Scott Walker could have, despite being American, taken this route, he was adopted by Britian soon after his arrival and has not ever really gone back home since. Instead though he released a difficult, arty, incredibly dark album, Tilt, and the world was all the better for it. In fact there is a good argument that it was Tilt that had the biggest influence on mid-90s music secretly – Radiohead listened to it a lot while making OK Computer, Jarvis Cocker is a big fan and went very dark immediately after, and it inspired Damon Albarn to up sticks and move to Iceland to start again.
Bouncer… is the third track on Tilt, and one that sounds like a freakishly warped version of his earlier crooner self. It keeps threatening to break into a string based tune of his previous incarnation, but never does. The words sound scary but are hard to get a grasp on, the ones that will strike you most are the ones that go "Don't play that song for me, you won't play that song for me” which presumably some listeners will find is a sentiment that they will share. But not me. Its haunting, unsettling and brilliant.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:20:13 PM   
Rhubarb


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22 Jesse (Walker)



After September 11th 2001, and the subsequent aftermath, a lot of artists took to the recording studio and recorded protesty songs, or songs dealing with the anguish and worry. But how many of them can you remember?
Coming a full five years after the events of 9/11 (although with the speed in which Walker works these days, the album could have been done at any time between the finishing of the previous album and the release of the next) Jesse is an intense, complex, and interesting take on the tragedy. The song uses the death of Elvis twin brother Jesse (delivered still born half an hour before the future King) as a metaphor for the survivor’s guilt, of being one of two knocked down. The pain with Walker shouts “Jesse are you listening?” is quite startling, and you wonder what the cut off point for “building left in the night” and the tribute to one of Walker’s heroes is. Indeed there is some unsettling use of a creepy version of Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock. Somehow the two subjects become impossible to separate, and as Walker points out in his sleeve notes, Elvis never really got over the survivor’s guilt, often speaking aloud when he was on his own to his dead brother. It is all about the thing that is always there, the pain in the background. One of the darkest, and most brilliant songs in Walker’s considerable cannon. Pow Pow.

Find it on: The Drift

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


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ORIGINAL: FritzlFan

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:22:12 PM   
Rhubarb


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21 (21, 21) If You Go Away (Brel/McKeuen)



I have had an uneasy relationship with Walker’s cover of Brel’s most famous song. This is mainly because this is the one the most liberty with is Brel’s words, (tellingly it is not translated by Shuman, like all the other Walker/Brel covers) and changed Ne Me Quitte Pas into the more passive If You Go Away.
I love Brel, and a whole bunch of his songs interpreted by Walker pop up in this list, and I do appreciate the need to change the words to make them work in another language, if you read a song like, say Next in literal translation it isn’t very poetic. But it is kind of essential that the meaning behind the song remains the same. It is telling that Nina Simone covered Ne Me Quitte Pas in its original language. And of course, Seasons in the Sun is a massacre of a sardonic original, the famous Terry Jacks version cutting out the final bit about Brel telling his wife’s lover to keep her well, as he knows he has been all the time he’s been away.
So for awhile, If You Go Away was the Walker/Brel translation I refused, but that could never last, mainly because on its own terms, Walker’s own version is absolutely heartbreakingly beautiful, and in that sense does translate the feeling of helplessness of the Brel original.

Find it on: Scott 3, or the Sings Jacques Brel compilation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmu32mE291w


< Message edited by Rhubarb -- 26/10/2011 4:24:41 PM >


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:28:25 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Yay! Back from the dead. Great choices, but Bouncer should have been top 20/15.  I'm going to go listen to it in tribute.

Oh, and nice touch with the 21.


< Message edited by rawlinson -- 26/10/2011 4:29:00 PM >

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Post #: 44
RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:33:42 PM   
Rhubarb


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Are you just going to say that about all the choices from Tilt?

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:42:02 PM   
rawlinson

 

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I do like Tilt, I admit. But I'll also say it about songs like Boy Child and The Seventh Seal, and if Big Louise isn't in the top three then someone's getting fucked up. 

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:43:56 PM   
Rhubarb


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Big Louise = Not the best song from Scott 3.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:45:28 PM   
rawlinson

 

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What would you put above it? And if you say the entire album I'll cry. 

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:46:10 PM   
rawlinson

 

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Actually, don't answer that if it'll spoil the list. 

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 4:47:06 PM   
Rhubarb


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That would give away a portion of the list which i am not willing to, because there is a chance i might finish. Big Louise is one of the best songs from an incredible album though, don't worry

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 5:12:45 PM   
rawlinson

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Rhubarb

That would give away a portion of the list which i am not willing to, because there is a chance i might finish.


Follow my example, I always finish my lists.

quote:

Big Louise is one of the best songs from an incredible album though, don't worry


Good man.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 5:28:51 PM   
matty_b


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If You Go Away is gorgeous, Bouncer see Bouncer is great, but Jesse is just fantastic.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 7:09:27 PM   
Piles


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quote:

ORIGINAL: matty_b

If You Go Away is gorgeous, Bouncer see Bouncer is great, but Jesse is just fantastic.


fantastic > great > gorgeous ?


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 7:31:13 PM   
matty_b


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That's about right, yeah.

And there I was expecting Jesse to be a Joshua Kadison cover.

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 9:25:05 PM   
MovieAddict247


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Jesse is stunning.

If You Go Away is a great song. Though I prefer Brel's original, Walker's version is still pretty damn good.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 26/10/2011 11:13:40 PM   
Lazy wolf eyes


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First time I've heard Jesse. I imagine it's a bit of a grower. Or maybe I just like the more bombastic stuff. 

If You Go Away above Amsterdam? Madness. Utter madness. I love the song, don't get me wrong, but I'd love it more if I'd never heard the original. I think if you took away Scott's voice it would be a bit poo, really. Mind you, even with the translation it's got some sweet lyrics.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 27/10/2011 3:45:49 PM   
Piles


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Lazy wolf eyes

First time I've heard Jesse. I imagine it's a bit of a grower. Or maybe I just like the more bombastic stuff. 

If You Go Away above Amsterdam? Madness. Utter madness. I love the song, don't get me wrong, but I'd love it more if I'd never heard the original. I think if you took away Scott's voice it would be a bit poo, really. Mind you, even with the translation it's got some sweet lyrics.



I think I prefer the Brel If You Go Away. There's a performance of it where he's choking back the tears towards the end and it's absolutely breath taking.


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 27/10/2011 5:43:23 PM   
Lazy wolf eyes


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Ooh I'll have a look for that one. I do love me some Brel. 

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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 5/11/2011 1:28:48 PM   
Rhubarb


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20 Clara (Walker)



Cinema has been important to Scott Walker. When he moved to Europe from America at the height of The Walker Brothers (European) success (he’s never left) he was excited at the prospect of being able to talk to people about the European Arthouse that he was in a cult minority of liking (of course, he was disappointed, as everyone over here just wanted to talk about American indies).
On Clara, he sort of indirectly reengages with the point where it all began with him and the cinema – he had been taken to see a film, and the Pathé newsreel contained some footage of Mussolini and his wife Clara being hung up and dragged through the streets of Italy. The morbid image stuck with Walker, and due to his family’s inability to explain the whole thing, he became obsessed with their story.
Years later he read a biography of Mussolini and again became entranced by the story, mainly of Clara, who was given the chance to flee and get the hell out of Italy to safety, but was so in love with the comically posturing dictator that she stayed and suffered a horrible death so that she could be with him at the time of his. In this sense Clara is a love song. Except its not that simple because its 2006 Scott Walker.
“Her breasts were still heavy, her legs long and straight” Walker wails as someone punches a piece of meat in the background. He then describes Clara’s death, and then its Benito Finito (he should have used that rhyme). There’s a sort of sweet bit about a swallow as well, where Vanessa Contenay-Quinones, a French singer turns up. So this totally is a love song. Kinda.
This is also famously the "meat-punching" one. One of the most striking moments in the brilliant 30 Century Man docu, is an insight into Walker recording Clara, in which he instructs someone on how to rhythmically punch a piece of meat hanging down in the recording room. Its surreal, but you can hear the effect in the record, it sounds like no other purcussion, possibly ever in the history of music. It adds so much to the dark landscape of the execution that the story is referring to, and emphasises how bold/brave/in love/crazy Clara actually was.

Find it on The Drift

Listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5hvHEBLNpI


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RE: The Top 30 Best Scott Walker Songs Ever - 5/11/2011 1:40:47 PM   
Rhubarb


Posts: 24508
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: No Direction Home
19 The Big Sleep (Khan)



“A beautiful, creative young woman asks you to sing with her. Can’t be bad.” So says Scott Walker about his unexpected collaboration with Natasha Khan on Bat for Lashes second album, Two Suns. I’ve always been drawn to extremes in voices (in the best vocalists polls, my top ones were Scott and Kate Bush) and The Big Sleep is a wonderful example of two very different voices giving one another weight to create a stronger effect. Walker’s voice, as we know by now, is a deep baritone so thick you could swim in it, while Natasha Khan’s voice is at a much higher ranger (to the point where she has drawn innumerable comparisons to Bush herself).
The song is short, and relatively simple, a bowing out of the record by Khan, with all sorts of overtones of death, or the death of a relationship depending on your interpretation. “How can this be the last show?” Khan intones, and Walker follows. The song is call and response, with Khan setting the template and Walker having fun with it – “Already my voice is fading” Khan sings hopelessly, while Walker fades his own voice so that he doesn’t reach the end of the line.
It obviously isn’t a “Scott Walker” song as such, but it is so memorable, and perfectly and thematically ties into his work, while being more obviously accessable than his modern day work, it is perhaps more “interesting” than some of his pop work.



Listen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Eatz44Gx7k

Find it on – Bat for Lashes second album, Two Suns.


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