Tuesday, April 1, 2008

John Cale

[Grab this rare non-album track in beautiful gimped 96kbps mono here! (This one will be up for a week or less, so do it fast.) The song's twists and turns are worth experiencing before you read about them.]

Hey let me tell you 'bout my dream
There isn't really much to tell
At first I'm playing in the Velvet Underground
Then
I'm
speak
ing
Welsh
and
I
can
do
the
double-l


In the same vein as "Autobiography" (better be careful about using the same vein twice!), John Cale's postmodern classic "John Cale" is an examination of conscience, an attempt to evaluate his art, his legacy, his public profile through the eyes of another. Like Autobiography, it puts a humorous and self-deprecating spin on things.

And now I'm on the West Coast all
Fucked up on heroin and speed
And then I'm riding in the back of someone's car
And
I'm
Say
ing
all
these
nas
ty
things
a
bout
Lou Reed
Lou Re-e-e-e-e-ed


(Oh yeah, he went there!) Unlike "Autobiography," though, "John Cale" hearkens back to the pastoral instrumentation of Vintage Violence and the Brian Wilson melodies of his early career. It's a very capable pastiche of Cale's so-called classic period, and it's not unlikely that frustration with the overemphasis on that period leads to the cutting satire of the instrumentation: I mean, sleighbells?!

Nobody can take my dream away.
Nobody can take my dream away.
Nobody can take my dream away.
Away, away, away.


His ability to put himself, as a songwriter, outside himself and look back is stunning.

And then it's nighttime in New York
It's cold and I can see my breath
It's cold. I think I'll maybe stop in for a drink
At
the
White
Horse
Tav
ern
where
I
drink
my
self
to death
to dea-ea-ea-ea-ea-eath


Ah, the classic shocking John Cale ending. He can't be dead, 'cause he's singing the song, but he just killed off his fictional doppelgänger! Audacious and deeply amusing. He rubs in the postmodernism with a final smirking chorus - it was all a dream:

Nobody can take my dream away.
Nobody can take my dream away.
Nobody can take my dream away.
Nobody can take my dream away.
Away, away, away.


If you want a more listenable version, buy the full-quality version (which is actually written and performed by Don Lennon) for pocket change at Amazon MP3 or somewhere else. Laughter, after all, is priceless.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dylan Thomas drank himself to death at the White Horse, not John Cale

Mark of the Asphodel said...

Re: Anonymous--

There's still time!

Anonymous said...

Agreed!!!

jenna said...

I had a giggle. It sounds like Lennon put Cale's bio to music.

Anonymous said...

Any chance of a re-up on this????