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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Paris 1919

John Cale

1973

Paris 1919
Album Summary

Paris 1919 is the third solo studio album by Welsh musician John Cale. It was released on 25 February 1973 by Reprise Records. Musicians such as Lowell George and Wilton Felder performed on the release. It was produced by Chris Thomas, who had previously worked producing Procol Harum.In contrast to the experimental nature of much of John Cale's work before and after Paris 1919, the album is noted for its orchestral-influenced style, reminiscent of contemporary pop rock music. Its title is a reference to the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, and song contents explore various aspects of early 20th century Western Europe culture and history. The album has received critical praise from several publications over the years, including AllMusic and Rolling Stone. It was reissued on 19 June 2006 by Rhino Records.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.96

Votes

10265
Genres
Rock
Pop
Psychedelic Rock

Reviews

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Sat Jan 30 2021
3

Goofy English shit. Fella sounds a bit like Ringo.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

The brain behind Velvet. Brilliant guy.

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Mon Jun 14 2021
5

I listened to this years ago but mostly knew it by reputation, which I can say is well-earned. There's some Velvet Underground in this record's DNA, but it's mostly a dramatic evolution, with orchestrations that compliment the songwriting. A few really excellent tracks, especially "Andalucia" and "Half Past France." Maybe not as enthusiastic a 5 as other records I've given that rating to, but it's more of a grower, which is fine.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
4

One of John Cale's very finest solo efforts, Paris 1919 is also among his most accessible records, one which grows in depth and resonance with each successive listen. A consciously literary work -- the songs even bear titles like "Child's Christmas in Wales," "Macbeth," and "Graham Greene" -- Paris 1919 is close in spirit to a collection of short stories; the songs are richly poetic, enigmatic period pieces strongly evocative of their time and place. Chris Thomas' production is appropriately lush and sweeping, with many tracks set to orchestral accompaniment; indeed, there's little here to suggest either Cale's noisy, abrasive past or the chaos about to resurface in his subsequent work -- for better or worse, his music never achieved a similar beauty again.

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Mon Jan 15 2024
3

This was fine. I didn't hate it. Didn't love it. Largely forgettable.

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Mon Jan 31 2022
2

Cruise ship lower decks lounge music. At best.

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Thu Jun 16 2022
3

Pretty solid album. Started a little slow but ended up enjoying it more than I expected to. My player started shuffling through a 2nd time after the first listen and I 1) didn't realize it and 2) liked it even more the further I got, so this might be one that really builds with additional listens. 3.5/5

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Wed Mar 02 2022
2

Paris 1919 by John Cale (1973) Of the three key members of The Velvet Underground (John Cale, Lou Reed, and Nico [1965-1967]), John Cale was the most inscrutable. But on the post-Underground album Paris 1919, John Cale approaches scrutability. If nothing else, the record demonstrated that he actually had musical talent, even if his lyrics remained on the obscure side. With an almost pop sound, utilizing sensible but creative melodies, and backed by the UCLA Symphony Orchestra, Paris 1919 is listenable, even if Cale’s voice leaves much to be desired (I’m being generous on that last bit). From the wacky faux-reggae “Graham Greene” to the almost folk rock anthem “Half Past France” to the delicately pretty and cool “Andalucia”, the musical chops are there, but they seem almost desperate to achieve meaning. The allusions to the overall theme of the album are oh so slight. It takes work to understand, and it’s not quite worth it. The album does prompt some historical reflection, which is a plus. The ‘Paris’ of Paris 1919 was of course the post-WWI Paris, recovering but victorious after the Triple Entente (Britain, France, and Russia) defeated the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy) and providing the setting for the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The conference was marked by the victors’ idealism and hopefulness that sought an international path forward after the “war to end all wars”. Sadly (and due in no small part to the arrogant and vain naïveté of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson), the resulting Treaty of Versailles would be a colossal failure, ensuring the rise of German nationalism and the horrors of WWII just 20 years later. Cale’s lyrics on the title track “Paris 1919” make reference to this ephemeral buoyancy, but they remain indeterminate, so they represent a missed opportunity. But the music captures the mood—the foolishness of those who put bright heads together confident of securing the avoidance of war. As the wise man said, “When will they ever learn?” (Pete Seeger/Joe Hickerson, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” [1955/1960]) An even wiser man said (in 1950), “No one has yet explained how war prevents war. Nor has anyone been able to explain away the fact that war begets the conditions that beget further war.” That ‘even wiser man’ was the American Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He should know. 2/5

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Wed Aug 09 2023
2

Meh… sounds like badly jerked-over Beatles tunes, but less interesting.

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Fri Nov 03 2023
1

At least with Kale you get the feeling you’re doing something good for your body, even if you don’t enjoy it. Unlike this Cale.

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Fri May 28 2021
5

I didn't have any witticisms or ironic comments come to mind while listening. I just rrally love this album now

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

Though this is not my personal favorite John Cale album (that would be "Fear"), I am going to give this a 5 because I'm pretty sure this will be John Cale's only solo appearance on the list. This is a beautiful album and I find his voice oddly comforting.

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Sun Jan 31 2021
4

Another day, and another randomly generated album selected for me from the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Todays selection is an album titled Paris 1919 by former Velvet Underground band member John Cale. I’m going to cut to the chase. After having this album in my possession for 24 hours, while being obviously well produced, written, engineered and performed, its mostly forgettable to me, but not completely. There are two extremely good songs on Paris 1919 and I’ll focus on those. This is just my honest opinion. Child’s Christmas in Wales, the album opener, is very warm and welcoming, if it was meant to set the tone for the rest of the experience, it failed. Most following tracks are, to me personally, too slow and sappy. I don’t mind slow and sappy at all, just make it catchy and memorable. As I drudged through about fifty percent of Paris 1919, I was smacked right in the face with the epic title track, Paris 1919. The deep bass of the strings are all it took to hook me. The horns closely following reeled me in closer. I have no idea what this song is about lyrically, seems based on historic events of countries I’ve never visited. Paris maybe? When John Cole sings “you’re a ghost la la - la la la la la” I get a little release of dopamine. So simple, yet so catchy especially in his cadence. Other notable songs are Graham Greene, Half Past France and Antartica Starts here. I totally don’t know what they are about but they sound nice. While the overall production of Paris 1919 is obviously top tier, the only songs I would add to a playlist would be Childs Christmas In Wales and most definitely the title song, Paris 1919. Please share your thoughts, opinions and memories below!

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Tue Apr 13 2021
3

A playful and incredibly cordial flash of gallic beauty from a true artist. Cale has laundered the Velvet Underground from his system on this record and not so much recorded an album, but painted a musical picture. John Squire once recorded an album based around the paintings of Edward Hopper. It was a bold idea, more miss than hit, but a commendable effort. Paris 1919 seems to achieve Squire's aim almost accidentally. It's short, but any longer and it wouldn't have worked. This isn't something that takes you on a journey - plenty of records do - but instead it takes you out for coffee. If Dark Side Of The Moon, for example, whisks you away into the psychedelic catacombs of your mind, then Paris 1919 treats you to croissants in a delightful little cafe on the banks of the Seine under the romantic stewardship of the Eiffel Tower. C'est merveilleux.

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Wed Oct 20 2021
3

Didn't vibe with it but also it didn't put me off it was just kinda there.

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Sun Nov 26 2023
3

Middle of the road. Not boring, but doesn't really stand out either.

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Fri Mar 12 2021
2

It's fine. There's the odd moment here and there where it's bordering on good, but overall, it's fine, it's listenable, not horrible, not fabulous.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
2

Not feeling this at all. No real good reason. Maybe I'm just not that into Avante Garde.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
1

this is boring and I can't understand what he is singing.

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Wed Jul 27 2022
1

Absolute waste of time. This was almost unlistenable and even then, it was boring beyond belief. I somehow made it through and I was so angry the whole time that I was forcing myself to finish it.

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Mon Dec 27 2021
5

The music was strong. The instrumentation was expansive giving the album a symphonic feel. There was also a strong sense of melody and whimsy. I only know John Cale through his work his work with the Velvet Underground but though this was very different, this art pop stands very well on its own.

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Mon Jan 23 2023
5

Classic John Cale album. Hard to see why anyone would give fewer than 5 stars for it.

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Tue Jul 18 2023
5

What a surprise this album was. His mellow voice, slightly spiritual sounding, on top of a unique guitar and strings blend, with every song making you feel something. Also, such a cool selection of song names.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

Kind of sounds like a really good Ringo album

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

Paris 1919 - string accomp. as per Eleanor rigby

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Tue May 11 2021
4

Loved it, dense and powerful orchestration, historical lyrical storytelling, nice arc to the album

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Wed Aug 18 2021
4

I enjoyed this. A Child's Christmas in Whales and Antarctica Starts Here stand out. Artsy, innovative - doesn't always hit the mark for me but never boring. Good listen.

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Mon Feb 28 2022
4

John Cale, the founder of Velvet Underground, doing a collection of fun catchy pop songs. Nothing out of place. The majority being baroque pop, one of my favorite genres (especially from that era) with a heavy wall of sound, incorporating strings like an orchestra. Different styles here and there like the bluegrass "Macbeth" or psychedelic folk "Hanky Panky Nohow" that never test the boundaries of our comfort zone. Beautiful writing reminiscent of 19th to early-20th century literature. He gets pretty artsy at times, most dramatically in the bridge title track, which draws your attention while still being pleasing and accessible. Has a very British sound, with vocals and writing reminding me of the mods, especially the Kinks. Closer is a satisfying exit. Length and pacing are just right. Favorites: The Endless Plain of Fortune, Andalucia, Paris 1919

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Mon Oct 31 2022
4

My familiarity with John Cale prior to today was mostly limited to his work in The Velvet Underground, so this turned out to be an unexpectedly straightforward and accessible rock album to listen to. Highly enjoyable art-rock, with beautiful orchestration. I need to check out more of Cale’s solo work.

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Fri Mar 11 2022
2

I can appreciate that he's got good song-writing skills and has street cred being that he was one of the founders of the Velvet Underground, but this really did not resonate with me.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
2

To be fair, this dude didn't stand a chance, following right on the heals of the ArchAndroid from yesterday. So much energy! So much variety! Yesterday, of course. Not today. This is bland AF. It's vanilla ice cream with no sprinkles. It's a pan-fried burger with no toppings. It's a unicorn with no horn that just walks around eating grass, just like a regular ole horse. This tracks with my experience with the 70s on 7 on SiriusXM. The music from this time period is either amazing, sing out loud while driving awesome - or total and utter crap. Like change the channel to anything - EVEN THE BLEND - crap. This is the latter - hard pass, but thanks for trying.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
1

Another one I just didn't get on with. Shame, I like Velvet Underground too.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
1

Ja, ik ga het gewoon doen: "na 1 nummer begon het me al aardig de Cale uit te hangen" (sorry)

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Thu Feb 15 2024
1

Generally not a fan of this kind of music, but I'm always willing to give a chance for the albums. This one is just quite bad though. As soon as I heard the first song, I knew the vibes were bad and this was not for me. I personally hate his tone, the vocals and melodies are bad, lyrics are weird, and the whole record is just a giant mess of boring pop-rock stuff with some ballads filled with weird and downright annoying instrumentals. 'Macbeth' and 'Paris 1919' are the only half-decent songs on this, but still not nearly enough to save this absolute ship wreck. Very little to like here for me, never listening to this again.

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Sat May 08 2021
5

Another absolute masterpiece. This has been a good run of albums

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Mon Nov 15 2021
5

Great album! All compositions are powerfully connected by the concept, while each one is different. Feel free to listen to this album in its entirety. Cale opened to me this uniqe genre as barocco-pop

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Honestly one of my favourite ever albums. I always think of it as underrated so I was pleasantly surprised it made the list. It's a shame he never went back to this style with his later more experimental stuff

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Thu Jun 16 2022
5

kinda unsurprising because i love the Velvet Underground, but man was this a good album

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Thu Jun 16 2022
5

Cale at his most approachable, one of my favourite albums.

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Sun Nov 13 2022
5

The perfect album to go with my morning tea.

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Thu Dec 08 2022
5

Liked this, but feel I need to listen to it several times get deeper into it. John Cale's voice moves from understated to absurd, but always fascinating.

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Sun Jan 22 2023
5

Absolute perfection. Bliss. Incredible. The title track is genuinely one of the most gorgeous compositions ever put to record. Now THIS is symphonic rock at it's finest. VU alum >>>

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Mon Jan 23 2023
5

Very nice collection of beautiful songs. Cale's singing is a bit wobbly at times, but in this case I can live with that.

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Sun Apr 09 2023
5

Everything John Cale touches seems to be wonderful. Loved this album. 4.5/5, rounding up to 5.

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Thu Apr 20 2023
5

For the longest time, I thought JJ and John Cale were the same person. But they couldn't be more different. This is great, building and surging nicely, and definitely an influence on Belle and Sebastien.

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Thu May 18 2023
5

"Paris 1919" is the third solo studio album by Welsh musician John Cale. The album was a shift in his more experimental music toward an orchestral-influenced style as with the contemporary pop rock. His band included Little Feat's Lowell George (guitars) and Richie Hayword (drums), The Crusaders' Wilton Felder (bass, sax) and the UCLA symphony orchestra. Lyrics explore various aspects of early 20th century Western European culture and history. The album title (and song) " Paris 1919" refers to Paris Peace Conference (Treaty of Versailles) which resulted in the partitioning of Europe and assignment of unilateral war reparations and contributed to the rise of the Third Reich. Piano begins "Child's Christmas in Wales," in both a happy and sad sounding pop song. A busy song. Great vocals. A droning guitar bridge. Based on a Dylan Thomas poem. The strings appear in "Hanky Panky Nohow." It's softer, slower. A chorus. I love the way there's no rush in this song. The modernization of life. The strings give a darker edge to "The Endless Pain of Fortune." Dramatic. It's about settlers in 1910 South Africa searching for diamonds and gold. The influence of Lowell George is really heard in the beautiful "Andalucia." The slide guitar. Hey, this is country rock. Cale's emotional delivery. Dire Straits had to be huge fans of John Cale. A person from Andalucia, Spain. A lover? Ominous strings begin "Paris 1919," the most baroque of these songs. Layered and urgent vocals and chorus. Is Cale comparing his life the disastrous results of The Treaty of Versailles? "Half Past France" slows it down a bit from the previous songs. Piano. Slide guitar. This sounds a lot like Brian Eno at that time. No surprise Cale and Eno worked together. The album ends with a soulful song in "Antartica Starts Here." Cale whispering the album to a close. This is a fantastic album. I was completely blown away. It's beautiful sounding with the strings. Great variety as each song changes styles slightly and is worth listening on their own. Pop, baroque, country rock, soul and glam rock. I'm always a sucker for songs with dual meanings and he does this here with the historical lyrics and comparing to his current personal situation or not maybe. I cannot recommend this album any higher.

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Thu Jul 20 2023
5

I loved everything about this album. It just hit the right note for what I was in the mood for today. "Hanky Panky Nohow" and "Paris 1919" really stood out for me. His voice is a bit of Ray Davies and Ringo Starr. The songwriting had a touch of Harry Nilsson (or vice versa). This was a great album

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Tue Oct 03 2023
5

10/10 I forgot that this guy was in the Velvet Underground and was completely blown away by how beautiful and imaginative this album is but now that I know, it should obviously come as no surprise that he’s such a genius

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Wed Nov 15 2023
5

Was a lovely listen on the way to work this morning. Apparently it had been around but Bagelbutt and Otrops failed to tell me.

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Tue Nov 21 2023
5

What I'm learning about myself is that I enjoy the members of the Velvet Underground solo much more than I do together. There wasn't a track on this album that wasn't both enjoyable and memorable. Great lyrics like "her schoolhouse mind has windows now." Excellent orchestral pop taking up where the Beatles left off and creating something new. No notes

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Fri Nov 24 2023
5

I loved this album. Being familiar with the title track I wasn’t sure what to expect from the rest of the album but it delivered big time. Beautiful symphonies! This kind of album is what this list was made for

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Fri Nov 24 2023
5

Having never heard of John Cale I was pleasantly surprised. I'm not well versed in orchestral music but he uses it wonderfully without it overpowering his vocals. The title track especially blends it together well. This entry stands out from the rest of its peers in the early 70's experimental rock genre (if thats what you call it) coming out of the UK. Really enjoyed this one.

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Mon Nov 27 2023
5

This is a very cozy album, it makes you want to listen to it in the evening with a cup of tea, a cigarette in your mouth, and the soft light of a lamp.

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Sat Dec 02 2023
5

Extraordinary. A true hidden classic. The first four tracks are excellent and fully engaging and then ends very strong indeed. Beautifully conceived, skillfully executed.

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Wed Dec 13 2023
5

Ooo I was excited for this one, but also a little apprehensive based on this title/album cover. But I know my boy, John Cale of Velvet Underground fame, is a musical innovator and creative genius. So I put my trust in him. And I am not disappointed at all! I am loving this album! The first track was very peppy and uptempo, it immediately put me into a happy, excited mood of anticipatory eagerness for every coming track. This is such a joyful and delightful journey, I wish I could hear it again for the first time! It's a gift I want to keep unwrapping. I can't even describe how much I love the intentional dissonance between the musicality and the thematic lyrical content; this is absolutely delicious and I have savoured every bite. John Cale is criminally underrated, I'm in awe of him. This is a masterful exploration of his solo talents and I'll be spending a lot more of my time with it. Adding into regular listening rotation!

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

What a phenomenal surprise this was! Incredible album filled with interesting and very enjoyable songs. After each song I kept thinking damn, that’s good! Then the next one would be even better. The second half of this was some of the best music I’ve listened to on this project. Super terrific!

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

Wonderful songs. I enjoyed them more and more as I listened more carefully.

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Fri Mar 08 2024
5

What a great album. Hat’s off to John Cale for being one of the masterminds of the Velvet Underground but then also being a genius in his own completely different realm. Such an original voice and fun theatric songs… love it!

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Sun Mar 10 2024
5

Gorgeous, an album filled with little avant-pop gems that’s complex enough to keep returning to again and again

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Sun Apr 07 2024
5

I like the voices. It's a nice album Fav songs: The endless plain of fortune Andalucia :=]

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Thu Apr 11 2024
5

I was not expecting to like it this much, but the tracks felt very unique despite their names.

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Fri Dec 18 2020
4

Never heard this before.... unusual but at the same time catchy!

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Sat Jan 30 2021
4

Loved this album. I have never heard any of these songs before. Had a great band and vocals. I would buy this album.

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Wed Mar 24 2021
4

Very relaxing! I enjoyed it.

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Thu Jun 03 2021
4

A pretty fun pop album, it really grew on me after a second listen.

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Wed Feb 24 2021
4

Weirdly good and it led to a few other great songs

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Tue Feb 23 2021
4

Macbeth can do one but it's a solid 4 from me.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
4

Had never heard of him before. Pleasant

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Wed Apr 28 2021
4

Child's Christmas In Wales: interessante, come primo impatto m'ha fatto molto anni '70 ma non in modo negativo. L'arrangiamento mi è piaciuto e il pezzetto col tempo dispari m'ha un po' conquistato. Hanky Panky Nohow: Wtf?? Parte come un pezzo un po' folkeggiante anni 70 ma il testo è totalmente fuori di testa. Il "ritornello" m'è piaciuto e trovo molto azzeccata la durata del brano che più lungo avrebbe perso d'impatto. "There's a law for everything And for Elephants that sing to keep The cows that agriculture won't allow". Ok..? The Endless Plain Of Fortune: Ammazza figo questo, l'orchestrazione m'è piaciuta un sacco. Parte un po' modaiolo anni 70 e invece quando iniziano ad entrare gli ottoni e gli archi diventa un pezzo totalmente diverso da quello che me aspettavo. Bello! Andalucia: L'ho dovuta sentì 3 volte perché non riusciva a catturarmi in nessun modo. Forse bisognerebbe sentì il testo che non ho sentito bene, però m'è sembrato un pezzo folk ballad tipico dell'epoca senza particolari pregi. Machbeth: Figa, l'influenza un po' country rock m'è piaciuta. Non è niente di super originale ma pure la transizione strana in quella sorta di bridge m'è piaciuta. Sta pure nel punto giusto dell'album. Paris 1919: Ho visto che è la title track e che è la più ascoltata quindi ero un po' prevenuto, però invece m'è piaciuta. Orecchiabile ma comunque con elementi stilosi e il bridge orchestrato con gli uccellini e il cambio d'atmosfera l'ho trovato geniale. Graham Greene: Carino il piano scordato però non m'ha detto molto. Half Past France: Niente di sconvolgente e forse un po' più legato agli anni, però m'è piaciuto. Antarctica Starts Here: Nonostante il Rhodes per come è suonato fa un po' David Bowie (e quindi buuu), comunque l'ho trovato un pezzo molto poco anni '70 e pure originale. Forse avrei voluto che ci fosse un po' di più di questo spirito pure negli altri pezzi. Complessivamente: Molto interessante, figlio dei suoi tempi da una parte ma anche con una visione artistica che secondo me regge ancora oggi e c'ha ancora qualcosa da dì. Secondo me se sente che s'è trattenuto un po' e voleva fa un disco più vendibile (tipo appunto considerando i pezzi più sbroccati) ma comunque se sente che c'è una mano esperta sia a livello compositivo che di arrangiamento. Probabilmente ci vorrebbe più di un ascolto e penso che qui i testi siano abbastanza importanti ma non ho prestato sempre attenzione. Quando l'ho fatto però c'erano sempre frasi abbastanza surreali che mi sembravano aggiungere all'atmosfera del pezzo/disco.

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Tue May 11 2021
4

Fantastic album, you can see why he went on to do soundtracks etc. Loved the variation of it. Favourites were Hanky Panky Nohow (best song title ever), The Endless Plain of Fortune, Macbeth and Paris 1919. Some really inspiring stuff in there. Highlight was the strings.

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Tue May 11 2021
4

There's no bloat on here, just a short snappy album. Little not to like tbh. I like the opening track especially.

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Tue Apr 27 2021
4

Con John Cale è stato subito amore (cuoricino su spotify per Child's Christmas in Wales). Mi ha trasmesso naturalezza e semplicità ma a tratti anche nostalgia (de che? boh!). Ha i suoi momenti geniali sia come testi sia come musica. Machbeth ha un po' interrotto la magia e ci sono rimasto un po' male, ma John Cale è tipo un di quelle persone che ti piacciono a prescindere. Non arriverebbe a 4 (3.75), ma mi ha fatto sentire meglio. Glielo devo. 4

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Thu Aug 19 2021
4

Second half very good. Very weird

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Fri Sep 03 2021
4

This is a fascinating album that I have never heard before. This is one of those albums that you just need to sit down and enjoy in its entirety. Will definitely put this into rotation. Favorite Tracks: "Paris 1919" "Child's Christmas in Wales"

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Thu Sep 16 2021
4

fun! upbeat! poppy! everything i want in a good daytime music working cd.

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Thu Oct 21 2021
4

If there’s one thing I can always rely on, it’s for John Cale to confound me a little with his music, but I love it. His music can be a bit of a rough listen for some because of his avant-garde sensibility. But this album is probably one of his most accessible and most enjoyable to listen to. The songs are a pleasant listen, with a hint of a pop vibe. Several reviewers compared Cale to Ringo Starr which at first annoyed me, but I can hear it, particularly in the piano. They also have similar vocal ranges, but that’s about it. What Cale is up to is a bit more left field, to put it mildly. There are some stunningly pretty songs on here, mostly with simple but elegant arrangements. In contrast, the kicky rocker “Macbeth” is kind of ridiculous, especially followed up with the masterful “Paris 1919.” It’s a tonal shift that will break your brain on some level. I like to think Cale had a good laugh over it. Speaking of “Paris 1919,” it’s a singularly lovely confection of a song, the best track on the album. I would have loved a whole album of songs in this vein. The lyrics on “Paris 1919” are also quite clever but won’t mean much to a casual listener. As with a number of songs on the album, the lyrics are peppered with historical and cultural references that tend toward the obscure. Cale is not known for his vocal talents, but something in his delivery is enjoyable to me. It's slightly off-kilter and wavering, but conveys a certain pathos that works really effectively with his musical style. Richie Unterberger describes it as a “lilting if thin Welsh burr,” which is about as perfect a description of Cale’s vocal style as I have ever seen. Combined with his beautiful arrangements, that wonderful viola, and a little warmth courtesy of Lowell George’s guitar work, you have a really unique collection of songs here. It may take multiple listens to connect with it, but it’s worth it. Fave Songs: Paris 1919, The Endless Plain of Fortune, Child's Christmas in Wales, Andalucia, Half Past France

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Thu Nov 25 2021
4

Quite pleasant, not sure if I'd put it on again any time soon but wouldn't mind listening again.

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Sun Nov 28 2021
4

I liked this. Stunning instrumentation. And introspective quirky song styles.

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Sun Dec 26 2021
4

I braced myself for the electric viola and was pleasantly surprised. Best track: Half Past France

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

nostalgic yet hopeful 70s road trip montage music through Europe. Try not to fall over during the first 7 seconds of the opener!

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Wed Dec 29 2021
4

Interesting to hear this one so close to Lou Reed's "Transformer": two former Velvets a few years on, taking the reins of their solo careers and moving in very different directions. Where Reed chased Bowie's glam-rock sounds, Cale (VU's "lunatic" according to drummer Maureen Tucker) also went commercial with a lush, sophisticated half-hour of orchestral pop. "Paris 1919" is a regal, stately album: full of bombast, intricate orchestral arrangements, classical influence and overt allusions to writers from Dylan Thomas to Shakespeare to Graham Greene. It puts its cards immediately on the table and rarely lets go of its dense arrangements and orchestra, used to greatest effect in the stunning title track. The biggest shock is perhaps the most conventional song, rocker "Macbeth". Upbeat, riotous and bringing drums and electric guitar to the fore, it sounds like it belongs on a different album... in the end, it's just another mesmerising trick in Cale's box. "Macbeth" and "Paris 1919" both add to my main take-away of this album: underneath all the sonic ambition, there are some real pop gems here. My favourites boast truly aching melodies: "Andalucia" is a straightforward three-chord folk song that could work as a stripped back, acoustic-guitar-only ballad. "Half Past France" is another winner, its wistful melody surrendering to floods of organ and reverb. Things end on an oblique, mysterious note with "Antarctica Starts Here". If anything lets the album down, it's "Hanky Panky Nohow" and "Endless Plain of Fortune", which don't reach the same heights of the other ballads here- maybe on account of feeling overbaked, over-orchestrated? It's a tricky line to walk. This is nitpicking though- on the whole, this is definitely one of my favourite new albums I've been introduced to on the list and will be added to regular rotation.

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

Fun stuff, very eclectic but good pop sensibilities throughout. Not sure about the cod reggae track, though.

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Mon Feb 28 2022
4

geggjuð plata en hjef ekki endurjhlustað síðan í mr

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Fri Mar 11 2022
4

Weirdness all round. First, because it sounds a few years out of date, belonging more to late sixties psychedelic orchestral pop. Also, the topics explored make it an album you'd want to have Wikipedia at your side to make sure you get all the references. Picking Lowell George as the guitar player is a shocker since Little Feat (and all the other artists that George accompanied) are the exact opposite of this stuff. That said, I kind of liked it. It's good that there was a time when a record like this, hard to define and out of place, could get released by a major label.

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