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Songs For Drella CD

4.9 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 April 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: WARNER BROS
  • ASIN: B000002LKS
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,449 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

LOU REED & JOHN CALE Songs For Drella (1990 German 15-track CD album released as a tribute to their mentor Andy Warhol. The picture sleeve features Lou & John with a pixelated image of Warhol visible when held up to the light)

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Something of an oddity, this is largely a lyrically-driven album - some of the tracks feel more like poetry with musical backing than actual songs. Most of the time this works, but in places it gets a bit shakey. That said, there are several tracks of absolute genius that make this album a must-have for all serious VU fans. My favourites are 'a dream', which is a hauntingly beautiful interior monologue read by John Cale (that voice!) to a marvellous ambient backing track, and 'forever changed', which features an awesome, driving piano-riff (reminiscent of 'all tomorrow's parties', but more angular) and some lovely, harsh guitar work from Lou Reed. Other stand-out tracks are 'trouble with classicists', 'slip away' and 'hello it's me'.
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By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 24 Aug. 2003
Format: Audio CD
Songs for Drella (1990) remains a highlight in both Cale and Reed's lengthy careers- it forms part of Reed's strongest trilogy of albums since the Velvets demise (the others being New York, 1988 & Magic&Loss, 1992) Reed & Cale had infamously fallen out when in The Velvet Underground & had not worked together since- this collaboration, along with Moe Tucker's contribution to New York, would lead to the VU temporarily reforming (the resulting live album containing some wonderful takes on classics like Beginning to See the Light & Femme Fatale). Songs for Drella is one based around a limited musical soundscape (Reed on Vocals/Guitar; Cale on keyboards/vocals/viola) & one that has a sense of improvisation. It was a work primarily written for performance- like Tom Waits recent Alice/Blood Money setz- so perhaps some of the songs are more theatrical than melodic; but I like the whole journey around a fictional take on Warhol's life from people who were once close to him...(the final track on New York leads here...)
The tracks with Cale on lead vocals stand out- Style It Takes (wonderfully performed on Fragments for a Rainy Season),Trouble with Classicists (great guitar from Reed), A Dream & (especially) Forever Changed stand out. Reed also gets to sing some great songs- the amusing Smalltown, the ethos of Work (up there with There is No Time), the spleen-venting I Believe (Valerie Solanis surfacing...) & especially the touching Hello It's Me- which shows that its possible to continue discourse with the dead: "I know it's late in coming but it's the only way I know/Hello it's me- goodnight Andy.../Goodbye Andy"-
Songs for Drella is a more experimental/improvisational work- unlike albums like White Light/White Heat, Berlin, & Paris 1919 which all sounded crafted and meticulously arranged.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Strangely enough, with Lou Reed's recent passing, this album he made in 1990 with John Cale, as a tribute to their former collaborator and mentor Andy Warhol (who had died three years earlier), seems an even more poignant listen than ever. Admittedly, it did follow Reed's outstanding 1989 effort New York (arguably his finest post-Transformer/Berlin era recording) and so the man 'had his hand in' (so to speak) in the songwriting stakes, and Songs For Drella carries on where New York left off, as both he and Cale have penned some of their very best material here.

These are clearly very personal songs and this collection sheds a good deal of insight into the relationships of what was (for me) one of the most creative (three-way) collaborations of all contemporary music. Written primarily from a 'Warhol 1st person perspective', Songs For Drella is an enthralling mix of songs covering key aspects of the Warhol persona, including fame, art, cinema, ambition, religion, liberalism, Warhol's assassination attempt and personal relationships - and, as you might expect from these two scribes, the lyrics are unfailingly poetic, witty and perceptive. Musical style-wise, the pair cover much of their own past musical territories, with Reed fulfilling all guitar duties and Cale playing piano and viola - and indeed, although Reed sings lead vocal on 10 of the 15 songs, it is always a nice surprise to hear the lyrical depth of Cale's voice.

There are moments of great vibrant (piano-driven) pop, such as on album opener Smalltown and the account of the assassination attempt in I Believe, whilst each of Work, Starlight, Images (a Reed lyrical tour-de-force) and Forever Changed (with some of Cale's most impassioned vocals) inhabit 'rockier' territory.
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Format: Audio CD
This album could have been so bad. Take two ex-band members who continually fall out with one another and get them to pen a song cycle about the life, art and death of their late mentor Andy Warhol. Oh yes, and you are only allowed to use three instruments and none of them can be bass, drums or percussion. Despite the impossible odds though, Lou Reed and John Cale pull off a fascinating tribute which is funny, moving, insightful and brilliant.

"Smalltown" is a hilarious semi-fictional account of Warhol's humble origins played out in Cale's trademark morse-code piano. The superb "Open House" then jumps ahead in time with the bizarre chorus "It's a Czechoslovakian custom my Mother passed on to me, the way to make friends Andy is invite them up for Tea". Cale then takes the vocals and his viola for the beautiful "Style it Takes" about Warhol's shameless use of flattery and manipulation in the pusuit of money and success. "Work" recounts an argument with Warhol in the 60's when he demanded to know how many songs Reed had written that day. Reed, having written none says he has written 10 to which Warhol replies "You won't be young forever! You should have written 15". Of course one slowly realises that this is 25 years later and Reed has finally written his 15 songs for Andy in this album. "Trouble With Classicists" depicts Andy's views on art and painting (yet is still melodic and engrossing) while "Starlight" describes his move into art-house cinema. "Faces and Names" then slows the pace down by delving into his claustrophobic love life.

"Images" tries to capture the frenzied reasoning behind his multiple screen prints and contains the great line "You might find that images are boring...and you might find me personally boring".
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