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Baker's Dozen

Reinventions Of The Near Future: James Dean Bradfield's Favourite LPs
Emily Mackay , September 23rd, 2014 08:25

With their Holy Bible shows just announced, the Manic Street Preachers frontman talks Emily Mackay through his all-time favourite albums


John Cale - Slow Dazzle
That moment I had when I was young, listening to White Light/White Heat by The Velvet Underground… I mentioned there's a song called 'The Gift', and John Cale narrates it. It's about a man who mails himself to his girlfriend as a present. She opens it, and she fucking kills him. I remember… I didn't realise John Cale was Welsh when I was 15. I remember listening to that song and I was like, "Fuck me! That sounds like a Welsh voice!". My mind exploded: one of the pivotal members of The Velvet Underground was a Taff! Anything is possible baby… I really got into John Cale from that moment onwards. I think if you get into John Cale you go to Paris 1919, which is an amazing album and some would say his best, but Slow Dazzle really pushes it for top spot. Number one, it has one of the best covers of all time: he does a cover of 'Heartbreak Hotel' which is a brilliant, brilliant cover. And he goes from that to 'Ski Patrol', and there's another song called 'I'm Not The Loving Kind', which is almost like a Harry Nilsson, beautifully orchestrated, melancholic plea to a lover. So he goes from serrated acuteness of 'Heartbreak Hotel' to the lushness of 'I'm Not The Loving Kind', which is just one of the great motivational songs of all time. In a strange way it just motivates you so much. This is where John Cale got his game together: he realised he was an experimental musician who could also write amazing tunes. And this is where you actually hear him not scared of his voice anymore. This was the start of his true greatness. As a solo artist he's nearly unsurpassable to me.