Paris 1919 is my favourite John Cale album but it’s not coincidentally the album of his I’ve heard the most, by far. That seems to be the way with me and Cale’s songs, it takes some time for them to impress themselves upon me, I don’t like his other albums as much not just because Paris is so much more accessible but because I just haven’t given them the time they need. (Isn’t that saying the same thing? Oh well.)
But, as others have pointed out, this record is like its predecessor minus the elaborate arrangements; many though hardly all of the songs have a similar vibe only the arrangements and performances feel very distinct. Perhaps that’s why this record is growing on me faster than some of his other records.
But Cale remains a songwriter I like more in theory than in practice. I find I like everything I read about his music and then I listen to the actual music and usually don’t like it as much. (Perhaps I’ve read far too much about him.) And I often enjoy the touches he’s applied to the songs of others than I like his actual songs. But maybe I just need to give his solo records more time.
Because I generally like him as an arranger, as he’s full of interesting ideas – which climaxed in Music for a New Society – and I enjoy him as a performer too. (Is that him on bass at the end of the title track or is it someone else? Whoever it is, it’s great.)
As this one grows on me it sure makes me think I need to go back to those other records of his I haven’t loved so much and give them more chances. And maybe I will do that when I have some time.
So I guess what I’m saying is I like this more than I thought I would, given how I’ve felt about everything I’ve heard of his outside of Paris 1919. And I think I might like it more given time.