We lost another Ohio boy: Scott Walker has died. I like a lot of his work, but I absolutely love Scott 4. That record has comforted me on many a sleepless night. Until a few years ago, I’d never owned it on vinyl — the back cover features nothing but this pretentious Camus quote about images. I love it so much.
The quote, by the way, is from a preface to a collection of Camus’ essays published in 1968, the year before Scott 4 was released. The sentence after the quote makes it even more meaningful to me:
A time always comes in an artist’s life when he must take his bearings, draw closer to his own center, and then try to stay there…. A man’s work is nothing but this slow trek to rediscover, through the detours of art, those two or three great and simple images in whose presence his heart first opened. This is why, perhaps, after working and producing for twenty years, I still live with the idea that my work has not even begun.
It’s no surprise that this quote appealed to Walker at the time: he was trying to re-invent himself, to get away from his image as a boyish pop star. The album flopped commercially, but the rest of his career would embody this very idea.
(PS. “It’s Raining Today” is on Scott 3, not Scott 4, but it’s the perfect song for this late March day.)