Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Vigilante Lover

Artificial Intelligence: an attempt to be Leonard Cohen? Maybe, maybe not. (You have to ignore quite a few things, like the outward violence and half the songs.) It's as close as Cale comes, anyway, with songs like Vigilante Lover - radically different, yet sympathetic in some fundamental ways. Maybe it's shallow to connect the paganized Judaic symbolism of Cohen with the paganized Christian symbolism of Cale. Could be.

Maybe it's not very insightful to point out the preoccupation with crossing the line between love and war they shared for some of these years, rendering lovers' quarrels as humint battles and affairs of the heart as border disputes. It's certainly superficial to equate them or connect them simply on the basis of falling for 80s digital noises. But I'm not equating Cale to Pete Townshend or Roger Waters, am I.


It's just a feeling I get. Do I really have to point out that Cale covered a number of Cohen songs? Won't you just give me the benefit of the doubt here? I listen to all this music. Let me make an argument with my heart and my ears. Just this once.

The incantatory nature of the lyric here, the heart ripped open Cale pins on his sleeve, that's what makes this song. Autoabortive references to the Rosy Christians (he must have known better) certainly aren't. It's a supine song, the anger of a bum fallen into the gutter. It's as powerless a song as The Sleeper, but the illusion of calm has been thrown away. All he can do is scream:


And something is.

1 comment:

Ian said...

I really like how formally interesting this blog has gotten - in addition to looking forward to hearing more about Cale, I've begun looking forward to finding out how you're going to format each entry.