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Music for a new society (1982) [VINYL]

John Cale Vinyl
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Vinyl
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: ZE
  • ASIN: B0002BHA3M
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 524,220 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of misery. 17 Oct 2003
Format:Audio CD
Yes it's bleak. Yes it's desolute. But that is the whole point - if you're after a Saturday night party record then this isn't for you. But, it needs to be filed alongside such masterpieces as Joy Division's Closer and David Bowie's Low. It is quite simply one of the most unique albums ever made - not for everyone but absolutely unforgettable.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bleak masterpiece 7 Mar 2007
Format:Audio CD
Absolutely criminal that not generally available. This is the pinnacle of Cale's musical career so far - a unique blend of desolation and beauty.
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3.0 out of 5 stars say 3 and a half stars 27 Nov 2008
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
most disturbing. while i don't think that it is the pinnacle of his musical career (i'd say that was 'Hobosapiens'), it is certainly unique. i know of no other album that sounds like this one, and i'm not saying that just coz i'm a Cale fan. once when i was listening to this i had to turn it off coz it was making me feel so uneasy, and i've got a strong stomach. i defy anyone to listen to 'if you were still around' and not feel ill.

this album really is not for those who want a pleasurable listen. it is certainly a rewarding listen, coz few artists go into the heart of darkness in the way that Cale does here (Scott Walker's 'The Drift' is a close contender, but that is a less personal and more general-sounding darkness).

there are some moments of redemptive beauty, however. the whole of 'taking your life in your hands' is marvellous, 'broken bird' has some particularly fine moments ('could it be i'm just saying the same thing again?' - class), the return of the verse in 'damn life' is wonderful, and the sudden intonation of Debussey's 'Clair de lune' at the end of 'In the library of force' is very nice, even soothing.

the only really big mistake here is the inclusion of 'changes made', which Cale has said was only put in at the record company's insistence. well, one can always skip it.

on the whole, a fine record, and criminally underheard - although since everyone wants lightness and brightness these days, it's no wonder. put the effort in and you'll be amply rewarded.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Desperately in need of reissue. 31 Aug 2013
Format:Audio CD
Cale was clawing at his own flesh when writing and recording this. He sounds throughout like a man at the end of his tether. Which makes the moments of beauty genuinely arresting, little oasis in a desert of mental agony. A masterpiece if one that takes a lot of getting used to and a truly cathartic experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uneasy Listening... 22 Dec 2009
By Og Oggilby VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
I echo the comments of others who opine that it is criminal that this album is unavailable. 'Music For A New Society' is an extremely dark, mordant affair, a world away from his melodic days of 'Paris 1919'. Many of the songs here lack a formal verse / chorus song structure, and the music is frequently fragmentary, at times almost bitten off in chunks. However, it is never less than compelling, and with tracks such as the (re-recorded) 'I Keep A Close Watch' and 'The Chinese Envoy', there are moments of glacial grace and beauty. 'Sanities', the harrowing, narrated piece, with the menacing repeated lyrical motif, 'White with time' is genuinely scary, whilst the opening track, 'Taking Your Life In Your Hands', apparently about a murder, is similarly unsettling. There may only be one time a year when you want to listen to this, but when that occasion arises (a bit like 'Trout Mask Replica'), only 'Music For A New Society' will do.
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