Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Old Song Review: John Cale - Paris 1919

For today's post, kindly allow me to rewind to December 2009. I was "seeing" a nice young woman on the other side of town (THE GREEN LINE). She was a friend of a friend (twice removed) and was all kinds of hipster. I out-hipstered her on the film front, but her bibliography crushed me and musically it was neck-and-neck. NECK-AND-NECK I TELL YOU. This is a tall order. She had playlist after playlist on her computer that she would queue up on her computer while I made pizza or fiddled with her fancy camera. I knew most of the songs, but quite frequently I didn't. And I don't mean I simply hadn't heard that version, I mean I had never heard of the artist period. Needless to say, this floored me. So we would watch The Twilight Zone, eat tempeh and talk about David Foster Wallace. You know, standard hipster fare. I insisted that Rushmore was better than The Royal Tenenbaums, she told me I was full of it. So we watched both and neither mind was changed, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.

But one day, one sweet day, this beautiful song came on from the other room and I was enraptured. I stopped in my tracks. This was not The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. This was serious. The arrangements sounded so noble and sophisticated, but altogether playful. Rather than sounding ominous, the tuba sounded like a procession for royalty. Birds chirp amongst violins in an interlude between verses. How it hadn't been used in a Wes Anderson film already did not compute. It was MADE for a slow-motion montage. The lyrics bounce between the Paris peace talks that ended World War I and a casual relationship, but are inconsequential. After we parted ways that evening, I went straight home and downloaded the song and repeated it a shameful amount. It has established permanent residence on my Zune and nearly every playlist I make that doesn't feature Lil Wayne.

Of course, the relationship central to this narrative soon turned sour. Mercifully, this song remained.

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