The musical year hadn’t been going so well. Oh, I’d been getting plenty of good, weird music but not so much good fun music. Good music that is both weird and fun at the same time seemed out of the question.
But I wasn’t even shooting for that. After Carrie and Lowell (good but definitely not fun) and Shutter Island (pretty much anti-fun) I just wanted a to have a good time. And I started to get a bit desperate about it.
I’m not exactly sure what drove me to go back to a couple of weirdos who got together to make some definitely-not-weird pop music.
While I’ve loved the Velvet Underground for a long time, I only checked out John Cale solo set a couple of years ago and found him to be a very talented if not brilliant.
I’ve been a fan of Eno’s for quite a while, too, but doubted that I’d find a lot of differences among his many, many, (many) ambient albums. And while often brilliant, you won’t play him during a party.
But together, who knows what they’d come up with?
John Cale and Brian Eno: Wrong Away Up
No ambient here. And after producing a few U2 records, Eno probably decided it was time to try his hand at pop music again. Hey, he thought, if they can do it, why can’t I?
So the rock and roll band isn’t that much of a surprise, but the singing sure is. The best you could usually hope for from Eno was a soft murmur, and Cale - a loud scream. But right off the bat, Eno projects on “Lay My Love” and several others, too.
And while Cale does hide behind a couple of quiet tunes here, he more than makes up for it by belting out “Been There, Done That”. And he’s clearly having a good time. As anyone would be after having worked on a project with Lou Reed, which he had done shortly before this.
Another surprise is how tuneful the songs are. You usually get a lot of atmosphere from Eno and psychosis from Cale, but here it’s all about hummable tunes.
And after a whole bunch of fast bouncy songs, they have the wisdom to end on a quiet note.
So I finally get my fun. But it took a bit of time to sink in because I found the utter normality of it all to be kind of, well, weird.
So I ended up stumbling upon my holy grail of music - weird and fun together!
“Lay My Love”