Song of the Day, July 5: Thoughtless Kind by John Cale

CaleThoghtlessToday’s song is Thoughtless Kind by John Cale. After a five-year break (during which he produced albums for many other acts) and two loud, angry albums, Cale returned to his avant garde roots with 1982’s Music For A New Society. The songs were almost entirely composed on the fly in the studio and the production work was stark and experimental — not unlike his work for Nico on The Marble Index. The result was what he likens to method acting, focused on “the terror of the moment.”

Thoughtless Kind is a brief fragment that perfectly captures that spirit. Dwelling on betrayal and shallow relationships, it’s a dark song even in Cale’s catalogue.

If you grow tired of the friends you make
In case you mean to say something else
Say they were the best of times you ever had
The best of times with the thoughtless kind

As with most of the album, the production both enhances and distracts. Thoughtless Kind is better served as a stark guitar ballad, a presentation Cale perfected on the tour that resulted in his stunning live album, Fragments of a Rainy Season. He continues to perform it this way in his shows today.

Enjoy this live version (from a 2010 show in London) of a great song today.

About Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
Freelance writer, researcher, online comic vendor, and project manager. Fan of a wide range of music -- especially folk and 80s pop -- vintage comics, British TV, and LGBT fiction.

3 Responses to Song of the Day, July 5: Thoughtless Kind by John Cale

  1. Thanks Robert – you reminded me of a wonderful song and a wonderful album. I hadn’t heard that particular live performance – excellent choice!

  2. westiedad says:

    Love that Fragments album. Cale at his finest!

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