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

SCRIPT FOR A JESTER'S TEAR

Marillion

 

Neo-Prog

4.22 | 1432 ratings

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Starette
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This is an album that has captured my heart completely. I know Fish-era Marillion has been compared with Gabriel-era Genesis more than once but I'm inclined to see that as an inane statement. Sure Fish's voice is like Gabriel's but Fish is much more stronger, energetic in his singing. The painting of the face- well, you can't say Fish 'stole' that idea from Gabriel. It's just an extremely cool thing to do for a live performance! As for comparing Grendel with Supper's Ready.well.that can be debated. I like a band that can take its' name from Lord Of the Rings! The Silmarillion has been gathering dust on my headboard. ONE day.I might actually READ it! But if any of you know the style that J.R.R.Tolkien used in his writing, then you'll understand why I haven't started yet. I can't say any of Marillion's songs are very Lord of the Rings-ish as such.but the band name is random enough for me and I love it. There's also the idea floating around in the heads of a few people that this particular Marillion album has misogyny running in in its veins as a result of Derek Dick's (I can see why the poor, poor guy changed his name to Fish) bad experiences with women in his life. I admit that the man was a scary, wonderfully talented, somewhat emotionally-immature guy who probably did desire a girlfriend a little too much than he really needed to.but if THIS album has 'misogyny' in it then why am I listening to it? Of all people?? It's unrequited love- more like it. And frustration! The truth is that every single song is.depressing. Even the upbeat Garden Party has a dark undertone to it.

Script for a Jester's Tear: Depressing indeed but so beautiful, so romantic. Goddamn weepy for anyone who's suffering unrequited love or has just ended a relationship. *A tear runs down my cheek at this point.* But I'll cut the cheez and assure you that I don't adore this song just because of it's sentimental value for me. "So here I am once more- in the playground of the broken hearts." Piano chords and arpeggios played by Mark Kelly are always perfect for such a soulful start to a legendary song. Funny that- I've got a cousin called Mark and he also plays the piano like an angel! I've been to three different playgrounds since I first heard this song and "I'm loosing on the swings, I'm loosing on the roundabouts" always comes to mind. The guitar and synth-flutes bring out the slightly tragic playfulness of the theme: we're in a playground and "The game is OVER!" The words repeat and Fish sings with more and more passion. He sure knows how to throw his voice! Steve Rothery and his incredibly 80s electric guitar comes in. Remember- the 80s electric guitar is definitely a trait of Marillion all in all- mixed with keyboards and synthesizers in the background of course. This carries on for a while and the guitar improvises. But then it all dies down and an eerie keyboard dances in the background with the guitar as Fish practically mumbles: "I never did write that love song, The words just never seemed to flow." Irony in lyrics= a lot of pathos= gooood. Did I mention that this song could be described as an 'Essay of Emotions'? "PROMISED WEDDING NOW A WAKE!" This is the catharsis of the song and something gets caught in my throat now whenever I hear it. My eyes tend to fill up. "As you grow up and leave the playground where you kissed your Prince and found your frog- remember the Jester who showed you tears. The script. for tears." Amazingly tragic. Rothery's guitar moans and the 80s drumming of Mick Pointer (when you think about it, that's a pretty good name for a drummer!) keeps- up a constant beat at this point. Gorgeous. Teary. "So I hold our peace forever when you wear your bridal gown, In the silence of my shame the mute that sang the siren's song has gone soloooooo in the game." The chordal progression repeats but you can't deny Steve Rothery's improving guitar. "Can you still say you love me? Can you still say you love me? Can you still say.that you love me?" I cannot emphasize how when Fish sings quietly, almost pitifully here, and then rises to a more passionate tone- it can stop me from breathing sometimes. After this- it fades out. The LEGEND of a song has now ended.

He Knows You Know: Pretty-much the least like a progressive rock song on the album but it certainly has its' moments. Pete Trewavas plays a funky 80s beat on the bass all the way through which really stands out. The way Fish uses his voice in this song is also exceptionally lovely. If not frightening. The quiet transition, with a 'pumping' synth, very 80s, in the background, is one of the best bits. "He's got experience, he's got experience, he knoooows you know." The way he both talks and sings the word "problems" is almost disturbing. But so incredibly awesome! It's heard so many times though. The synth-keyboard is the most impressive; going up a key with the electric guitar jumping over it. Another thing about Fish's voice in this song= he 'flicks' it! "Pumping arteries ooze the problems through the gap in the razor claw, YOU GOT.." Then the rest of the band's voices back him up. Rothery's guitar strumming toward the end of this song is gorgeous.And then comes the great Marillion moment found at the end of this song: the phone call for Fish. Altogether now: "DON'T GIVE ME YOUR PROBLEMS!" If you ask me- Derek Dick seems to give a half-hearted effort in this angry outburst. But he's more passionate in this singing than his acting- needless to say. It's still a legendary moment!

The Web: *Flash!..Flash!..bang, bang, BANG etc.* The way the start of this song intrudes on the silence, straight after the He Knows You Know phone-call, is an instant thumbs-up. This anthemish song is, like the rest of the album, a melancholy one. I say this because of the lyrics, and the lyrics in this song are fantastic- all written by Fish as his first try at writing lyrics for the band. The way he sings his lungs out then resorts to mumbling at a few points in this epic is heart-rendering. Mark Kelly's synth-keyboard continuously goes down in this song and drags the whole band in tow (when you listen to it, you'll know what I mean) which singles this song out as the most capturing. In other words- it gains our attention instantly. "And thus begins The Web." This song is most definitely Mark Kelly's baby- for not only does he control the synth but also the keyboard which dances over the top and improvises the whole way. "The flytraps need the insects, Ivy caresses the wall, Needles make love to the junkies, The Sirens seduce with their call.." Fish's voice has an echoing whisper for this part. His poetry is excellent. I also like the type of epic which seems to have the singer changing his mind about something in the lyrics: "I realize I hold the key to freedom, I cannot let my life be ruled by threads.." Also, note the allusion to Script for a Jester's Tear: "I only laughed away your tears but even jesters cry." Fish sure likes his jester-imagery. He was an insane man, that one. Steve Rothery shows off on his guitar with various distortion- effects and Mick Pointer picks-up on the drums- changing to an 80's 'gunpower' tactic at one point. The words repeat after the guitar finishes its improvisation but the effects used on Fishes voice are different. Later things quieten down and the gentle synth 'pumps' again. Things get even more exciting (can you believe it?) when both the key signature and the time signature change in an unexpected place. Here, the keyboard gives us an even better improvisation than the first while the rest of the band work together underneath it. "Decisions have been made, I've conquered my fears, all my fears, The flaming shroud.the flaming shroud! Thus ends the web, the web, the web, the web..*spoken* The Web." This is an optimistic song, in comparison with the others, but only if you look at it from a certain view-point: it's a song about getting things done.

Garden Party: People talking.various conversations.a gentle synth- so typical of Marillion.then the drums and bass join in. "Garden Party held today.." This is the only slightly happy song of the album but the lyrics suggest how pretentious and wanky high-class parties in England are. Therefore- there's still pessimism here. Mick Pointer's complicated drumbeat is an impressive one. When the beat stops and all that we hear is Rothery's quiet acoustic with Fish singing "Champagne corks are firing at the sun.again. Swooping swallows chased by violins.again." we find a perfect example of how Fish can moan, sing, yell and whisper at the same time. He gets even more bizarre later on. "Oh God not again!" I love the crescendo of the synth-bashing. It's very dancey and it makes me want to have a Garden Party for my 20th birthday all of a sudden. Strange-isn't it, how the lyrics of some amazingly good songs can enlighten us in making decisions. Another thing about this song= "Social leeches. quoting Chaaaaucer!" My dad was rather happy when he heard I'd enrolled at Uni for an English paper on Chaucer next year. On the other hand, he was a bit taken-aback when he heard I only made that decision due to the subliminal messages within an 80s rock-song. I don't care- I'm sure I'll enjoy that paper! And when I've finished it- maybe I'll find out where exactly that random quote said in the background comes from. Fish has such a beautiful vibrato in his voice. Again- Mark Kelly plays a tremendous solo on his synth-keyboard. "I'm punting, I'm beagling, I'm whining, Reclining, I'm rucking, I'm f**king.." naughty, naughty Fish! That's such an unexpected lyric, I suppose we'll just have to use our imagination to find out what it means. A dancey, almost cutsie invitation ensues: "Garden Party held today they say, Oh please do come, Oh please do come, they say." The flashing of the synth echoes into the distance. This is definitely a fun song!

Chelsea Monday: The sounds heard at the beginning of this track are very creepy. Fish's voice is heard constantly saying something- but rewound. Then the crawling- upwards arpeggios on the bass begin. Rothery's beautiful guitar and some tinkling 80s sound effects go over the top of that. This is a song about a girl who is "Playing the actress in this bedroom scene, she's learning her lines from glossy magazines." There's one immortal and very repeated line I love: "Patience my tinsel angel. Patience my perfumed child. One day they'll really love you, you'll charm them with that smile." This song seems gentle at first but it becomes very passionate after the guitar, with (as usual) the synth in the background, takes over and the whole band comes together. Then suddenly it changes key and dies down to an almost acoustic sounding guitar. This is later changed by what appears to be a havard organ and guitar playing the same tune over comes through. "She'll pray for endless Sundays as she enters saffron sunsets!" I suppose the point is that she's a very effeminate and yet very superficial and brainless young woman. Then, my favourite!!, an even better and even more sentimental, reminding one of the Apocalypse, chordal progression takes over. I know this sounds a tad strange but I tend to picture a girl with her arms stretched out and light coming out of her for this point of the song.but that's just me. What's your imagination like for this one? A man talks in the background- we hear part of a conversation: "Hello John, did you see The Standard about four hours ago? Fished a young chick out of The Old Father. Blond hair, blue eyes, she said she wanted to be an actress of something. Nobody knows where she came from, where she was going. Funny thing was she had a smile on her face.she was smiling! What a waste!!!" This confuses me a bit. Yes, we know it's about a girl who wants to be an actress but does she drown herself? Is she really insane the whole way through? The "she was only dreaming" at the fade out could even suggest she sleep-walked into the river. It gives you something to think about. I know a few actresses because I've worked with them. They're all potentially mad I think. BUA-HA-HA! Musician-ship-wise, this is probably Steve Rothery's big moment.

Forgotten Sons: A tuning radio is heard with Market Square Heroes on one of the channels. Then the thumping beginning starts and it's VERY catchy! "Armillite. streetlights.nightsights." It all seems very happy but the words suggest otherwise: "Searching the roofs for a sniper.a viper.a fighter" This song has been considered as relating to an IRA explosion in late 1983. The way the synth dances over and over reminds me of an Irish jig. While Peter Cockburn (what an unfortunate name!!) announces this piece of poetry, Fish practically yells it: "Your mother sits on the edge of the world when the cameras start to roll. Panoramic viewpoint resurrect the killing fold. Your father drains another beer, he's one of the few that cares, Crawling behind a Saracen's hull from the safety of his living room chair. Forgotten Sons. Forgotten Sons. FORGOTTEN SONS." Rothery's distant guitar plays the whole way through this- very stylie! Then he goes solo after Fish and Peter finish their 'soliloquy'. After this solo- a chanting section begins: "And so as I patrol in the valley of the shadow of the tricolour, I must fear evil." Gunpower- drums and elec-guitar sound in the background. Should I say this part is a bit pretentious? My thoughts are varied on this. Fish is certainly INSANE in this one. One bit of drama: "Halt! Who goes there?" *spooky whisper* "Death." "Enter friend.." The guitar towards the end is repetitive but the melody is beautiful. We hear a trumpet in the distance and then an echoing-effect guitar as he sings: "You're just another coffin on its way down the emerald aisle." Then the little boys from the Marquee Club Parents' Association Children's Choir come in and sing their part! Are they symbolic of the ever-sung-about 'forgotten sons"? leave that to the decision of the listener. The song isn't *that* long- only lasts around seven minutes and it ends on an upbeat (a major chord).

Overall, I am now a very proud-to-be Marillion fan. Neil from the 'Young Ones' likes Marillion too! We all need to bring out the dirty hippy in ourselves. The best tracks in this album are definitely The Web, Garden Party and Script for a Jester's Tear. If I could sum-up Marillion (after listening to this album and Market Square Heroes, Three Boats down from the Candy and Grendel *so far*) in three main parts, they would be: Fish's energetic and somewhat frightening voice, a repeating synth often in the background, and a wonderful guitar solo. I don't care about all the claims that they're a blatant rip-off of Genesis, they're too fantastic! The best 80s prog in a nutshell.

Starette | 5/5 |

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