Album of the decade

scott-walker-the-drift

I listen to too much music so I’m sorely tempted to list a slew of records, but I’m going to resist that temptation. Instead I’m going to choose just one record from the last ten years. It didn’t take me long to decide.

Scott Walker’s The Drift was released in 2006, I’ve listened to it a lot though I might wish I hadn’t. For the first year or so I could only respect it from a distance. It was monotonous, monolithic, monstrous, implacable, unforgiving. Much of it refused comprehension. Much of it still does.

Then I began to do things I’ve since come to deeply regret. Nothing about The Drift changed, but I did. I closed the gap until it became a part of me. I love and sometimes dread this record, but I don’t like it. Could anyone?

None of this justifies The Drift as a work of art to be picked out from the deafening labyrinth of music released in the last decade, but that’s my assertion. It’s a courageous work that refuses to look away from death and madness, from the darkness and horror perpetrated by other people who have names like ours – Clara, Jesse, Jones – and but for different circumstances might be our stories.

The Drift traverses nightmare dreamscapes, 9/11, Elvis Presley, genocide in the former Yugoslavia, fascist Italy, and the bl(e)ackest humour imaginable. It fixes the political and the poetic in its unblinking gaze and thereby sheds light on the darkest part of our souls.

I’ve heard no record that approaches its dark ambition, integrity or singularity.


Dear reader, I would really appreciate it if you would propose your own album of the decade in the comments and, if possible, explain your choice. Many thanks.

To see more images of The Drift, please visit the post on Hard Format.


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