Sunday, April 6, 2008

Lay My Love

You know, the first time I put on Wrong Way Up, I wasn't much impressed. It sounded fairly staid, simple, uninteresting. I loved "Cordoba," sure, and liked "One Word" just fine. But starting with "Lay My Love," the album's simplicity was trancey, rather boring, and quite disappointing - it wasn't what I wanted from a dream-team pairing like John Cale and Brian Eno.

That's how I felt for quite some time. One by one, songs clicked (and this was one of the first), until I could comfortably call this one of my favorite Cale albums. And it's an album you can play for the less... adventurous listeners in your life, too - who'd have thought that the two weird guys from two really weird bands would come up with music that sounds so nice?

"Lay My Love" is a patently Enoid song, so I don't want to dwell too much on it. (I can't speak for you, but I've got to love a song whose first lyric is "I am the crow of desperation" and which goes on to anoint the narrator "the termite of temptation - I multiply and fly my population.") But Cale's viola contributions here really make the song, giving it a complexity of feeling that sustains an otherwise fairly uninteresting piece of music. Does it want to be frenetic? Does it want to be soothing? Does it want to be tense or comforting? It's up to the viola to keep all of those questions unanswerable.

(There's a live cover of the song by Poi Dog Pondering available on iTunes and elsewhere around the 'net - a great take and eminently worth a listen.)


Jack Feerick said...

Wrong Way Up is one of my favorite albums for Spring & Summer, and with the weather finally getting warmer, I've been listening to it a lot these last few weeks. Poppy as hell, yeah, but exceptionally well-done pop, and what's wrong with that? And yeah, "Lay My Love" is a tremendous tune; less a song than a structure on which to hang potentially vast numbers of layered vocals and string parts—relentless variations, indeed.

Minimal, repetitive phrasing, harmonies that barely move—it's as if Philip Glass suddenly discovered syncopation. And when that vocal counter-melody comes in, so recognizably Cale, it's like a warm blanket.

Fun, yeah—and that was probably the major goal—but also rather elegant.

totaji said...

Lay my Love sounds very similar to St. Elmo's Fire. Great Album but I think Eno shines a little bit brighter on. I'm much more of a Cale fan but it is a fact. Great Stuff.