Albums to watch

POPtical Illusion

John Cale

POPtical Illusion

Eighteenth album from the ex-Velvet Underground member co-produced with his manager Nita Scott

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Double Six / Domino
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 9.0 |   Uncut

    He returns in double-quick time with more selections from his 80-song lockdown splurge, but this time in a gentler, almost uplifting mood. Print edition only

  2. 9.0 |   musicOMH

    As consistent and cohesive as anything he’s made, it’s also a fantastic introduction to his solo music for people who haven’t yet taken the plunge
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  3. 9.0 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    Cale’s ability to do so many things so well is what makes him a true artist amongst amateurs
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  4. 8.3 |   Spin

    Clocking in at over an hour across 13 tracks, POPtical Illusion will likely require patience to fully penetrate its walls
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  5. 8.0 |   Far Out

    The album prospers from discerning productional finesse and an ingenious weave of classical and contemporary textures
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  6. 8.0 |   Record Collector

    Most of the material is set to a fairly low tempo but then JC is 82 years young and has never exactly been Minor Threat
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  7. 8.0 |   All Music

    John Cale may be a respected elder statesman of adventurous music that explores the nexus of rock and art, but on Poptical Illusion he sounds like a contemporary artist bubbling over with ideas and the will to execute them
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  8. 8.0 |   Mojo

    While the nebulous quality of Mercy was very much feature-not-bug, a cloudiness indicating the limits of memory, here Cale seems to have sharpened the edges of his songs, any mist or drift purely down to old fashioned meandering. Print edition only

  9. 8.0 |   The Arts Desk

    Another album full of surprises
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  10. 8.0 |   Loud And Quiet

    While his lyrics on POPtical Illusion take aim at capitalist structures, political dishonesty and the ubiquity of greed – sometimes specifically, sometimes in a much more obtuse manner – the sound of the album is much freer, and often feels airy
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  11. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    POPtical Illusion is full of grim songs about a planet in flames, yet it’s full of playful energy, blending synths and guitars with electronic beats from an elder hip-hop fiend
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  12. 7.7 |   Paste Magazine

    The avant-garde songwriter and composer’s 18th studio album finds him still tricking audiences with pop songs whose lyrics hint at something much deeper and darker below the surface
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  13. 7.5 |   Northern Transmissions

    He makes use of his anger, his hope, his love for music and the human race, to put out an album that utilizes pop and critiques the machine that churns out heartless popular music
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  14. 7.4 |   Spectrum Culture

    John Cale’s 18th solo album is a late work par excellence, displaying the Welsh bard in a reflective, philosophical mood, looking forward into both darkness and light
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  15. 7.0 |   Slant Magazine

    Each of the album’s songs feels like a kaleidoscope of sound that ebbs and flows
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  16. 6.5 |   Under The Radar

    Difficult to return to as a whole, but at least it shows that Cale is happy to keep his ideas flowing and moving forward
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