John Cale, Mercy, Review: A Gloomy, Thoughtful Record With An Eye On The Future

John Cale, Mercy, Review: A Gloomy, Thoughtful Record With An Eye On The Future
John Cales Mercy is inspired by climate change, Brexit, the pandemic and Donald Trump. Not a refreshing ear (Image: Marlin Marino) © Contributed by John Cale Mercy on climate change, Brexit, the pandemic and Donald Trump. Not a refreshing ear (Image: Marlin Marino)

Six decades is a long time to make music, but you can't blame John Cal for getting old. A founding member of the Velvet Underground, the 81-year-old has dabbled in everything from classical music to drone music on his 16 studio albums, churning out acts like Patti Smith and guest acts in his later years. As diverse as tech enthusiast Kelly Lee Owens and American singer Marissa Nadler.

Mercy is Cale's first solo album in over 10 years. It's also dismal, the fiery records you'd expect in a decade combined, including Brexit, the pandemic, Trump, concerns about the climate emergency, and the general collapse of society as we know it. He was immersed in a cloud of electronic lightning and how his mind explored this strange, existential phenomenon, vibrating with slow industrial rhythms.

Cale had always listened closely to interesting artists, and his guests at Mercy were different people. British musical actress pays homage to goth in Legs of Marilyn Monroe (Beauty Elsewhere); Weyes Blood adds ethereal vocals to "Blood Story" and the singing sounds like slow, thick blood.

Less inspiring is the Fat White Family's inclusion in "Ice Legality", a song about the art of owning an iceberg performed by a monastery choir to the accompaniment of cymbal whistles. It seems sung in circles, and it sounds like the song is trying too hard and not good enough at the same time: the repeated line “Ding-dong, the witch is dead” is fishy, ​​but the song is the same. Future sound project. What a waste of a collection of animals, Wayne's presence on this album is completely unnecessary.

While he clearly expected the worst in the future, Kalem expected the best. "Blood Story" seems rough at first, but inside it's just a story of life, though life is a bit like a fairy tale - "Swing Your Soul" offers him and Weiss Blood an interesting picture. Freedom is more than me in this life before Kale reminds him, "Guys, I'll be back to see them in the morning / Take them out into the light with me."

After listening to 10 songs in pitch darkness, Kale is so relieved that Kale stumbles on "I Know You're Happy" (featuring Tisha of Blood Orange and Dave Hines) even though Kale sings about being happy when he is happy.

With a nod to the modern day David Bowie and a song dedicated to Niko, the past still haunts Kalle's present, even though he's only glimpsed the future. Mercy has a lot of sound to dig into and I have a feeling it will be more open to future listeners and will probably just need a lot of editing to make it really great.

Released song: I Know You're Happy Marilyn Monroe's Feet (Beauty Elsewhere)

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