Paris 1919

John Cale

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Paris 1919 Review

by Jason Ankeny

One of John Cale's very finest solo efforts, Paris 1919 is also among his most accessible records, one which grows in depth and resonance with each successive listen. A consciously literary work -- the songs even bear titles like "Child's Christmas in Wales," "Macbeth," and "Graham Greene" -- Paris 1919 is close in spirit to a collection of short stories; the songs are richly poetic, enigmatic period pieces strongly evocative of their time and place. Chris Thomas' production is appropriately lush and sweeping, with many tracks set to orchestral accompaniment; indeed, there's little here to suggest either Cale's noisy, abrasive past or the chaos about to resurface in his subsequent work -- for better or worse, his music never achieved a similar beauty again.

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