Thursday, April 24, 2008

Been There, Done That

Whoa, not just uptempo but upbeat. I found the bubbliness of "Been There, Done That" off-putting on initial listens of Wrong Way Up, but the pure popness and charming personality of the song eventually won me over.

It helps that the extremely complex, contrapuntal arrangement, which feels like a wall of noise at first, resolves into a beautiful mosaic on further examination. The percussive bassline, the drip-drop electronic percussion, electric piano, lead and backing voices (etc. etc.) all intertwine with clean precision - there is no mush here whatsoever.

It also helps that Cale gives one of his most accomplished pop vocals. There doesn't seem to be much to the lyrics, but there's enough to evoke interesting thoughts and images. There seems to be Eno influence in the lyrics, but as I've said before, I just can't tell what's Cale and what's Eno on this album. All I know is that it's great stuff.

1 comment:

Jack Feerick said...

Probably my favorite song on "Wrong Way Up," and just maybe my favorite Cale performance ever. Just an incredible rush of pure forward motion, so energetic, and joyous and slightly pissed-off at the same time; I imagine that's what the manic swing of a bipolar disorder would sound like.

Random thought: The sound at the bridge—that twinkling, whooshing, backwards horns-y kind of sound—reminds me oddly of some of Adrian Belew's experiments with the guitar synthesizer, and how brilliant it was when he would integrate these squalling blasts of noise into pristine pop structures, as on the first Bears record. Also, it sounds like an elephant made of Skittles and fireflies.

A thought perhaps not so random: In this song I hear what I always wished Talking Heads could sound like.