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John Cale

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John Cale Honi Soit album cover
3.39 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews | 15% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Dead Or Alive (3:51)
2. Strange Times In Casablanca (4:13)
3. Fighter Pilot (3:10)
4. Wilson Joliet (4:23)
5. Streets Of Laredo (3:34)
6. Honi Soit (La Première Leçon De Français) (3:20)
7. Riverbank (6:26)
8. Russian Roulette (5:15)
9. Magic & Lies (3:26)

Total time 37:38

Line-up / Musicians

- John Cale / vocals, guitar, keyboards, viola, composer, arrangements (5)

- Sturgis Nikides / guitar, backing vocals
- John Gatchell / trumpet
- James Goodwin / keyboards, synthesizer, backing vocals
- Peter Muny / bass, backing vocals
- Robert Medici / drums, backing vocals
- Bomberettes / backing vocals (3)

Releases information

Artwork: John Vogel with Andy Warhol (concept)

LP A&M Records ‎- SP-4849 (1981, US)

CD A&M Records ‎- 394 849-2 (1991, Europe)
CD Music On CD ‎- MOCCD13546 (2018, Europe)

Thanks to snobb for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JOHN CALE Honi Soit Music

Honi SoitHoni Soit
Music on CD 2018
$12.00 (used)

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JOHN CALE Honi Soit ratings distribution

(13 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

JOHN CALE Honi Soit reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars John Cale after leaving Velvet Underground started long solo career. And his collection is full of different and often .... strange music. Classicaly trained musician for a long was involved in new classic minimalism, played together with Terry Riley,etc.

But after few albums he turned back to more commercial music. And again, this music was the mirror of outside musical world. His years in music production and collaboration with Nico, and later Iggy Pop and David Bowie,turned him to new music direction in his music as well. So, in the atmosphere of late 70-th Cale became a huge figure of NY underground/punk scene.

So, don't you await for neo classic minimalism,acoustic piano or violin from this album. "Honi Soit" is made in post-punk tradition with punk band of musicians. A believe, that in time of release it was quite attractive work. Mainly because of more complex music and using of synth keys in it. But from another hand, 1980 in fact was the year of new wave, so you can hear plenty of Talking Heads'rhythms and keyboards there in that album.

What is for sure - it isn't prog at all. The only raletion with prog music is in using more complex arrangements, than it normally was useable for punk music. But again, early Talking Heads albums are much more progressive in that sense.

Music generally is a mix of Iggy Pop,David Bowie with touches of Talking Heads music on it. Few songs are quite good, but in total very average album. Don't think it could be interesting to anyone on PA site. Still 2,5...

Review by Bonnek
3 stars After a number of years of radio-silence, Cale came back on the scene in '81 with a string of so-called commercial albums. If that is a true statement then I must like commercial music because this is my John Cale favourite.

The 81-85 period of John Cale reminds me a lot of the music Peter Hammill was making in the same years. It has a similar sound, new wave influences, the same type of anguish, artsy arrangements and above all high quality rock. The album doesn't have really weak spots but the best is surely situated on the original A-side of the album. Dead Or Alive might be the best known tune from this album. It sounds like Neil Young doing a Talking Heads punk-rock track with trumpets in the main riff. Strange Times and Streets of Laredo are the most compelling songs here, both being very angst-ridden and intense. Overall, I'd rate the album as a 4 star A-side and 2.5-star B-side.

Of course, the appeal of this type of art-punk on prog audiences is highly unpredictable. Or, going by the number of ratings so far, would it be safe to say that it is non-existent. Still, recommended to fans of Talking Heads, Peter Hammill and John Cale obviously.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The royal coat of arms that gave the album its title (quoting fully: Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense: Evil to Those Who Think It) was a nice ironic touch for a songwriter otherwise given to such malignant obsessions. But his 1981 LP is, in my own admittedly incomplete experience, one of John Cale's more accessible efforts, a fact that hardly compromises its quality or strength. Cale had already absorbed some of the energy and attitude of Punk Rock (see his previous "Sabotage/Live" album), and the same aggressive impulses continued into these sessions, filtered somewhat through a commercial sieve of 1980s New Wave marketability.

The album opener "Dead or Alive" is an atypically conventional rocker: John Cale crossed with Bruce Springsteen, maybe. But it doesn't take long for the old warhorse to begin scratching his usual wounds, and with a vengeance. The lyrically twisted "Strange Times in Casablanca", with its couples "sleeping in each other's mattresses / like maggots in despair", is actually one of the album's milder psychotic detours. Even more alarming is the schizophrenic free association of "Wilson Joliet", with Cale's voice ascending relentlessly toward an apotheosis of indescribable fury.

On the punchy title track the singer improvises non-sequiturs in schoolboy French over a heavy dance-floor backbeat, and because it's John Cale one of the phrases is of course "coup d'état" (mais oui, le voilà!) And no Cale album would be complete without a pathological cover song, in this case giving the cowboy ballad "Streets of Laredo" a moody New Wave facelift, perfectly suited to its morbid tale of a dead gunslinger ("...wrapped in white linen and cold as the grave") wandering the back trails of Texas.

The sharp sound of the album was the work of ace producer Mike Thorne, best known at the time for having applied his signature audio gloss to the angular art-punk of early Wire. Thorne provided similar guidance for Cale on this collaboration, keeping the Welshman on a tighter leash than usual while still allowing him room to prowl the darker shadows of his cage. The result was one of those rare albums that made us believe the '80s might not be so bad after all...a false hope, as it turned out, but don't blame this effort.

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