Photo Credit: Madeline McManus

Today, John Cale announced the release of his new album, POPtical Illusion, which is due on June 14 via Domino. As a preview of the forthcoming deliverable, the artist, a founding member of the Velvet Underground, has previewed the set by dropping its lead single and official music video for “How We See the Light.” The release will mark Cale’s second solo set to hit the airwaves in less than a year, following 2023’s star-studded Mercy. 

The Welsh musician, known for his lengthy and triumphant six-decade-long career, adds another layer to his fierce songbook of disgruntled expressions by remaining fixed on “the willful destruction that unchecked capitalists and unrepentant conmen have hoisted upon the wonders of this world and the goodness of its people,” according to Cale’s press release. 

Rejecting the assumed Mercy II title with castaway tracks unused on the original, POPtical Illusion avoids repetition. It builds off a sonic wave of unchained rock and lives in a world of samples and synthesizers, organ and piano builds, flanked with Cale’s lyrical push tinged with hope and a clear persistence that change is possible. 

POPtical Illusion was produced by the artist and his longtime artistic partner, Nita Scott, at Cale’s Los Angeles studio. On the lead single, Cale sings, “Can I close another chapter in the way we run our lives,” offering contemplation as he considers another end to a relationship–viewing it not as a waste of time but a moment to learn and enter another phase of the unexpected. 

Cale’s longing is reflected in the track’s music video pairing, a collaboration with repeat favorite Pepi Ginsberg, who uses visuals to express Cale’s positioning. Sonically, Cale taps into his contemporary role as an entertainer. Nearing 80 years old, the artist considers the human experience, accepting the need to let go while presenting urgency to carry on and move forward. 

Watch the official music video for “How We See the Light” below. 

Pre-order/ pre-save POPtical Illusion.

Read Cale’s 2023 Relix interview here.

  1.  “God Made Me Do It (Don’t Ask Me Again)”
  2.  “Davies And Wales”
  3. “Calling You Out”
  4.  “Edge Of Reason”
  5.  “I’m Angry”
  6. “How We See The Light”
  7. Company Commander”
  8.  “Setting Fires”
  9. “Shark-Shark”
  10.  “Funkball The Brewster”
  11. “All To The Good”
  12.  “Laughing In My Sleep”
  13. “There Will Be No River”