Monday, March 19, 2007

Reverse thought engineer (2)

I do not know whether the John Cale of Music for a New Society was at the time a very happy human being. But listening to this record again, I guess he was not. I bought this record at roughly the same time as I bought Joy Division's Closer, probably the most depressed record of all time, and still to this day I find Music for a New Society a much, much bleaker collection of songs.

I think that during the 18 years that I have it in my possession, I have played it maybe four or five times. It is a record I just dare not often listen to. I played it a few times in its entirety after my father died and I think today is probably the first time I played it since.

The instrumentation is austere and minimal, so there is hardly any escape from the lyrics. And those are not very joyful to say the least (Who am I kidding? They are actually devoid of that particular feeling). Listening to 'Broken Bird' is like coming back from the funeral of someone you loved very much and that is a feeling that I do not like to evoke that often, as I suppose nobody will.

The version of 'Close Watch' ("Nothing Lost / And Nothing Gain / Some Things Aren't Quite The Same / Between You And Me") on this record is so many times superior to the Helen of Troy original that it freezes your blood temporarily. Chilling, to say the least.

To leave you with a taste of what to expect, I'm pasting the lyrics of the truly heartbreaking 'Damn Life' below. Enjoy, but be careful.

Damn life
Damn life
What's it worth?
Damn life
Getting on without
This city
It's just self-pity
Damn life
You're just not worth it
You're just not worth the pain

They'll eat you alive
They'll drink the sweat from your brow
Eating the salt of the earth you'll never know
Oh no, respect
What's respect?
Cause and effect
Self respect

She was the one got left behind
She was the one got lost
Never took from anybody
Self-sufficient at any cost
No, nothing can break this heart of mine
It stands invincible all the time
You always get what you left behind
Seek and you shall find
Seek and you shall find
Damn life

So she's still wandering her heart away
Doesn't even know if it's night or day
And even if someone helped her up
She'd stand little hope
Of recognizing those friends she had
And in many, many ways
Those friends were glad


Strangely Closer and Music for a New Society proudly stand next to each other in my record archive, kind of a depressed duo.

1 comment:

rizzx said...

sounds like its my cup of tea! never heard of it! oh! i shall download