I've had a few of the songs from John Cale's most revered solo album, Paris 1919, on my iPod for sometime; the melodic Andalucia and the title track have become unique favorites and they had me yearning for more. I finally got the rest of the album am ready to agree with all the critics who hailed this mellow and irreverent masterpiece as his greatest.
Romantic and tranquil, Paris 1919 is otherwise a little hard to describe. At first it may seem very easy listening, middle of the road, but it's strangely haunting and grand. Lyrically it's filled with literary references like Graham Greene and Macbeth and each song seems to tell the story of an intriguing figure. Whether it's “The paranoid great movie queen” or a “Down in Transvaal, Where Crocodiles and men fight on” Cale weaves tales of worldly glamor, excitement, and mystery.
There's a reissue out now with additional tracks that include alternate versions and rehearsals, but this review is of the original album as it was released in 1973. This was Cale's fourth solo album after already establishing himself as one of the coolest men on earth with his credit of co-founding the Velvet Underground and his production of Nico and Stooges albums.
He also happens to look incredibly dapper and handsome on the cover.