John Cale

Leaving It up to You

Song Review by

One of the most controversial songs in John Cale's solo canon, the blisteringly monolithic "Leaving It All Up to You" was recorded for 1975's Helen of Troy album, but dropped from the record after just a few weeks on release, once the media got wind of its subject matter. That, of course, is a virulent study of the media's own approach towards violence ("the newspapers, ah they'd be listening to me giving it to you") climaxed by the savage observation "I know we can all feel safe like...Sharon Tate." Though six years had passed since the Manson clan murdered the actress, still her memory stirred unpleasant memories.

The performance is as psychotic as its subject matter -- the band sounds like a brigade of Panzers thundering and scraping behind one of Cale's most perfect vocals and, if his dissolution into screams at the end is maybe just a little too predictable, it was also the perfect conclusion. What else can you do at the end of the world?

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Helen of Troy 1975 Culture Factory 4:32
Guts 1977 Polygram 4:30
Seducing Down the Door: A Collection 1970-1990 1994 Rhino 0:00
The Island Years 1996 Island 4:35
Close Watch: An Introduction to John Cale 1999 Universal Distribution / Island 4:33