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John Cale 

blackAcetate:

Wednesday, Nov 23 2005
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After 40 years of dedicating himself to crafting smart, challenging music (even if it wasn't always listenable), John Cale now wants to be a big pop star. Exhibit A: his new disc, blackAcetate:, a bland collection of radio-friendly pop-rock influenced by the digitally programmed grooves of Dr. Dre and the peppy, anthemic indie-pop of the Dandy Warhols. Cale even recorded a couple of riff-a-licious jock jams, "Sold Motel" and "Turn the Lights On," which he probably wrote with significant input from his new collaborator, Mickey Petralia (who previously worked with the aforementioned Warhols and Rage Against the Machine). As a former member of the Velvet Underground, pioneering minimalist composer, and precursor to the new wave, Cale (even before Eno) invented the template for the unpredictable auteur creating eccentric pop music with an avant-garde sensibility. However, he's never been a big pop star, but rather a cult musician (whom big pop stars like David Bowie rip off), and that's the role Cale is most comfortable playing. Aesthetically speaking, he's too obtuse to be churning out cookie-cutter pop. So Cale, once you realize that Fall Out Boy fans aren't going to embrace blackAcetate:, go back to being a pretentious artiste and hook up with some obscure noise freaks; you are better suited for it.

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Justin F. Farrar

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