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Old 10-10-2008, 02:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
Forever young
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Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 608

Cale has through the years been a noted producer and has also collaborated with other artistes. One such collaboration was with Brian Eno in 1990’s Wrong Way Up.

This was easily the most accessible recording that Cale had done in years and arguably in the future. Some could also make the claim being the same for Eno as well. Being accessible does not always a good album make but that is certainly not the case with Wrong Way Up. This is chocked full of catchy pop songs that are full of good hooks and easy to listen to vocals from both Cale and Eno. The production and musicianship add to a fine album of 10 tracks that is seamless in presentation. The opening track Lay My Love makes a nice start with a slow lazy piece of pop that leads in to a terrific second song One Word, a funky number with very good vocal harmonies. On initial listening it was hard to imagine that this was two of the more experimental artistes of recent time’s collaborating on what is a less than avant garde album. The Cale sung track In The Backroom has to my ears a Leonard Cohan feel to it. Empty Frame follows with Eno singing lead vocals over again good harmonies. One of the best songs that Cale ever sang is Cordoba. This is a wonderful soft ballad and worthy of recognition by anyone with a passing interest in the career of Cale. The slow background effects remind me of Trip Hop, a style that developed a couple of years later. Spinning Away is an Eno vocal with beautiful chunky reggae style guitar along with viola work from Cale. Again vocal harmonies finish the track and add to one of the best songs that either of these pair has been involved in. Footsteps has Cale singing in his deep voice over a song of Synth powered sounds and then follows the magnificent Been There Done That. Just under 3 minutes this is as good a piece of mainstream pop that there has ever been with a great vocal by Cale and the usual perfect vocal harmonies to fill it out. Crime In The Desert is up tempo with piano and organ whirling away with The River being an ideal piece to end. A gentle meandering song that, when it finishes, seems to softly fade into the distance.

Wrong Way Up is now 18 years old but is still a better album of constructed pop songs than anything that I can think of that has followed it. From the beginning to the end there is a feel that both Cale and Eno have had a chemistry that has allowed their 2 differing paths in the experimental/Avant Garde to collude and produce an almost perfect album. There are no weak tracks, there is no hint that any one song was thought of as filler, the vocal performances are sublime in that they suit the style of each song, as is the production and musicianship. I read once that when asked if they would work together again the answer was no as this took too much out of each other. I also am not too sure that I would want them to work together again. If it was not up to the standard of Wrong Way Up I would be very disappointed.
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