John Cale's pop music
pete m. | NYC | 11/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vintage Violence is one of those albums where you just can't believe your ears the first time you hear it. Any expectations at all you bring into this will be blown away about four bars into "Hello There"; you'll realize there is so much more to this guy than the feedback/experimental genius you hear on the first two VU albums. Cale reveals himself here as a student of pop songwriting in the line of the early BeeGees and Paul McCartney. Actually, songs like "Adelaide" and "Cleo" sound like lost B-sides from the Merseybeat era. His adventurousness displays itself on the swirling climax to "Ghost Story" where he finds the perfect instrumental only to mercilessly cut the song short, leading into the closer "Fairweather Friend." The highlight here is "Amsterdam," a drop-dead beautiful song that Lou Reed could never have written. This isn't John Cale's best album (try the more cohesive "Fear"), but this is a gem that ought to be in every record store and in any pop fan's collection."
John Cale the Instrumentalist as a Songwriter!
Morten Vindberg | Denmark | 11/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Cale first solo album, originally released in 1970, came as a pleasant surprise to many fans of Velvet Underground. After his departure from V.U. in 1968 Cale had among other things produced for Nico, and some may have expected a more radical album, but here Cale reveals himself as a brilliant songwriter capable of writing and producing in a very melodic way, and several of these songs may even have had hit-potentials. Especially the catchy "Gideon's Bible" with its Beach Boys harmonies could very well had hit the charts, given the right exposure.
Among other very memorable tracks is the great opener "Hello There", featuring Cale driving piano. The majestic "Big Cloud" is another stand-out; sound almost like a Robbie Robertson song.
There's a slight country feel to another favourite,"Please", and the haunting "Ghost Story" features lyrics that make you think of Keith Reid of Procol Harum.
This could very well be John Cale's artistically most consistent album; which obviously says quite a lot, and at any rate this is without question the first time he really proves himself as a prolific songwriter."