Marillion – Script for a jester’s tear (1983)

So here I am once more

Oh my, how I adore this album. Marillion’s debut album from 1983 may very well be the best debut album of all time. I mean which album could challenge? Maybe this is an interesting post someday, challenge to “Script”… Who? Bowie, Floyd, Beatles, Genesis…? There are so many to consider. But that’s for another day.

Let me start with the cover. Just as with “Misplaced childhood” this cover makes me lose myself in fantasies about a strange world. The jester bearing the artist Mark Wilkinson’s face, the room with the painting of the scary lady, the albums on the floor (I see you Pink Floyd), the chameleon that wouldn’t turn up until the next album. Everything is so interesting!

Six long and beautiful songs. The title track was the last to be written, and what a late addition! “Script” is one of the most classic Marillion tracks, and the most important song of the album. Fish’s lyrics, melodies and singing are lifting the song to the heavens.

The rest of the songs were “old” tracks that they had played live until perfection. “He knows you know” is a heavy pumping accusation. He’s in deep in the quicksand of drugs, he can’t break free. It is powerful.

A small break influenced by the Wall… Don’t give me your problems!

“The web” is my favourite track on the album. At least so far. It is like the little brother to “Grendel”. Mick Pointer’s drumming is great, Fish is singing with an urgency seldom heard, Mark Kelly is a fucking genius on the keyboards. I love them all. Hey, what is this? The new 2020 mix has an added echo on Fish’s voice. Not cool.

Steve Rothery is one of my top three favourite guitar players. I don’t understand why he doesn’t like the guitar sound on this album nowadays. I love it. The guitar solo on “The web” is giving me chills up my spine. Sure the guitar may be more sophisticated on “Fugazi”, but there is something glorious with the raggedy edge to his playing on this record. I think they have given the guitar sound a slight echo making it grander on the new mix. Ok, quite alright. The bass player, cool Pete Trevawas is also great. He and Mick on the drums make the backing comp heavy. And Mark Kelly, did I mention that geezer?

Decisions! Have been made! I’ve conquered my fears! The flaming shroud!

But seriously, echoes on the voice? Argh… I am reviewing the 2020 remix from the super deluxe vinyl edition. I am not sure I agree with it. It’s such a delicate matter, to remix a classic album. Not an easy task. I do think the overall sound quality is improved, it is thicker, heavier, I don’t know. What do you guys think of this remix?

Let’s go, second side of the LP.

“Garden party” is like coming home. It is a fun romp, and if you have ever seen the promo video for the song you will for ever remember Fish and the boys dressed up as younglings pranking the Garden party. The melody is rather simple, isn’t it? Jolly fun anyway. Theatrical, engaging, rowdy. Yeah, I like it, but I like all tracks on the album. This is a crowd pleaser almost at the same level as “Market square heroes”.

“Chelsea Monday”…  A slower contemplative lament. It’s driven by the bass and the drums, with a urgent guitar, but not the bad kind – the sharp screaming guitar. No, this is something completely different and I simply love the guitar solos on this album. Sublime! Saffron sunsets. Fulfilled yet forgotten. Fish is capturing the loneliness and longing in such detail.

The album captures a feeling of a specific time in my life, back in Skövde in the middle of the 80s. Listening to it unlocks a door in the back of my mind. There is a torrent of emotions crashing down on me. Memories of my youth, nostalgia, sadness of years lost, sweet memories of old friends all jumbled together. It’s like the old me watching down on younger me from above, it’s like a dream, a reflection of something forgotten.

Fish keeps saying “this is not a political song”… Yeah right! Bollocks. Of course it’s a political song! “Forgotten sons” is one of the most political songs I know. It brings tears to my eyes. Mother Brown has lost her child.

This is the grand track on the second side of the LP. It is like a story with peaks and valleys of music and moods. My emotions are all over the place when I dive into the world Fish is painting in my mind. The brutality of the first part, the stillness with guitar and spoken words, the drums, oh my god, the drums. And the bass line. I can see the military marching! This is so great I can’t put words to it.

Then a few seconds of bass only, thrown into furious anger. Verbal masturbation. Minster, Minister care for your children! Order them not to damnation! For whose is the Kingdom, the power, the glory? Amen.






Tears are literally rolling down my cheeks.

Forgotten sons. Forgotten sons. For a second you’ll be famous. Forgotten sons.

Mother Brown has lost her child.


My rating: 10/10

Side A:

  1. Script for a jester’s tear
  2. He knows you know
  3. The web

Side B:

  1. Garden party
  2. Chelsea Monday
  3. Forgotten sons


Best songs: “Script for a jester’s tear”, “The web”, “Forgotten sons”

Produced by: Nick Tauber

Released on March 13th, 1983


Media 1: 1983 original album
Media 2: 2020 vinyl super deluxe box
Media 3: 1997 2CD Remaster
Media 4: 2020 cd/blu-ray super deluxe box

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