Listening to John Cale's sophisticated folk pop album, Vintage Violence, is as pleasant as looking at his handsome face. His first solo album after an unamiable split with the Velvet Underground sounds startlingly modern. The soft pleading beauty of Amsterdam, the slow dancey Please, and the far away Charlamagne (that hints at the work to come in his amazing Paris 1919, the album which led me to love the man in the first place) are examples of simple American sounding timelessness, while the bubbly Cleo and Hello There draw from retro pop history.
Cale is such a distinct voice in modern music, one that I'm enjoying discovering with each album. In an interesting side note, this particular album was recorded during his brief marriage to cart-wheeling maniac Betsey Johnson. She's pictured in the album looking more toned down than her shirtless hubby, but no word on whether or not any of the arty lyrics refer to or were inspired by her.