Friday, January 2, 2009

Outta The Bag

Oh, this isn't a very dignified way to enter the new year, with a strained falsetto and a Beck-lite ironic-funk rhythm track. Outta the Bag isn't nearly as clever as Cale seems to think, seeing as he chose it lead off his weirdly paced blackAcetate. But is it enjoyable?

To me it certainly is. The adventurous and restless vocal melody is very appealing once one adjusts to the multitracked falsettos in Cale's timeworn voice. The different layers of instrumental funk are pure ear candy, the instrumental drop out a minute and three quarters in is awesome, and so is the monotone rhythm guitar chord chop that starts at 2m40s - like one of Neil Young's infamous one-note guitar solos, allowing the rest of the song to rotate around it. And the pure daffiness - bird chirps, the "the birdies sing: woo hoo hoo" coda - is quite welcome, fitting as it does with the album's goal of puncturing inflated perceptions of Cale as artiste.

The live version loses a lot of the fun but gains a little live energy. I don't know if it's a worthwhile trade.

The lyrics aren't half bad either, though not revelatory. It's Cale's take on "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" - delivering the bad news to an unfaithful partner, maybe. The words are spiky and passive aggressive and a good mixture of vague and specific. There are some evocative lyrics. I can't complain!

In particular, I really like the way it continues a two-decade chain of references. More on this next time.

1 comment:

Ian said...

You tease. Now I'm going to be wondering about that chain of reference...