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Marillion - Script For A Jester's Tear CD (album) cover





4.23 | 1985 ratings

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4 stars Marillion's album Script for a Jester's Tear was one of the first albums I bought as a young teenager. That said, it means a lot to me, as do many albums to many people, especially those from their formative years. So, I am biased about this....Also, I hadn't heard Genesis' early Gabriel music at that time, so I didn't know the heritage or the references. That came later.

So, kicking off we have the title track, which sets the scene for Marillion in general. Whimsical, smart and beautiful music, with something extra. That extra was Fish's vocals. At the time, enigmatic and interesting and if you weren't aware of Gabriel, as I wasn't at 14, Fish was unique. Certainly in the backdrop of the 1980's rather dull and dry electronic pop scene, I hadn't come across anything as interesting as this other than Ozzy Osbourne, from his Blizzard and Diary days with Randy Rhoads. Clever lyrics support the musical changes throughout the song, although I have heard the accusations levelled that these were mostly 6th form wistful teenager lyrics. That may be kind of true, but I didn't know of any teenager with such an expressive voice. Part of the success of this song is the genuine feeling that it puts across and that it was long a winding, full of changes.

He Knows You Know speaks for itself. It's a great short song that packs a punch about the drug life that some people find themselves ending up in. Steve Rothery's guitar work showing up very well, with a tasteful and emotive solo as are all Mr Rothery's guitar solos. The Web is a meandering song, with some fine moments, but to me, one of the weaker ones. (that comment will no doubt land me in all kinds of trouble...)

Garden Party is a classic and represents Marillion well. This song hooked me straight away. I have to say, I prefer the Recital Of the Script or Reel To Real versions of this song as they are slightly less stilted.

Chelsea Monday is dripping with imagery and a lesser band might have found themselves plodding through this song and stalling, but Marillion keep it alive all the way through with emotion aplenty. A song about the small and perhaps pitiful lives that some people box themselves into, in this instance, the loneliness of a young girl, hoping that her "prince in his white Capri" will whisk her away from the drab life she has given herself. Pinning all her hopes that some young guy will come and set her free. Doesn't happen, "what a waste". This song is one of my favourites.

Forgotten Sons is what is says it is. Musically strong, it's a fantastic strident song in the beginning, highlighting the supposed thrill for a young person who's joined the army, then moving on to the obvious downsides of "joining up", such as killing innocents, destroying your soul and eventual death by a "terrorist" and the devastation caused by the death of the soldier on his/ her family. All good stuff, and a song that referenced the euphemistically named "troubles" in Northern Ireland at the time. Never meant as political song, according to Fish and it isn't really. It doesn't take on the bigger issues of war and the propagandised term "terrorist", it's more of a personal tale I suppose. Personally, I feel that if you are dumb enough to go killing and murdering other people on the behalf of other people, who're paying you to do murder, you deserve what you get. I thought that then and think that now. Musically, it's one of the highlights, certainly the guitar hook at the end and Rothery's sublime and beautiful playing is a high point as well as a superb showcase for Fish's vocals which run the gamut of spitting anger, sorrow, mockery and pain. He had such a distinctive, expressive and wide vocal range, which he has sadly lost along the years, but perhaps his vocals have gained in other subtler ways since.

A magnificent album, certainly in the top 2 Marillion albums for me, and highly recommended. For me, this was Marillion at their most vibrant; it remained that way for the next album for me. After that, well.... that's all opinion as well isn't it?

BillyWhizz | 4/5 |


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