John Cale
Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - John Cale

Solo albums

Music For A New Society

Music For A New Society + M:FANS

About this album

Released on January 22, 2016. Domino Records. Reissue of the 1982 album plus a reworking of the tracks entitled M:FANS, filled out with previously unreleased outtakes. The reworking was inspired by the one-off performance of the album in Aarhus (August 29, 2013).


  1. Taking Your Life In Your Hands
  2. Thoughtless Kind
  3. Sanities
  4. If You Were Still Around
  5. (I Keep) A Close Watch / Mama's Song
  6. Broken Bird
  7. Chinese Envoy
  8. Changes Made
  9. Damn Life
  10. Risé, Sam And Rimsky-Korsakov
  11. In The Library of Force (erroneously labeled as previously unreleased) - Download Only for the vinyl version
  12. Chinese Envoy (alternate take) - Download Only for the vinyl version
  13. Thoughtless Kind (alternate take) - Download Only for the vinyl version

Includes a new version of Close Watch, from the Helen Of Troy album. The outtake In The Library of Force was already included on the expanded 1993 CD re-issue.



  1. Prelude
  2. If You Were Still Around
  3. Taking Your Life In Your Hands
  4. Thoughtless Kind
  5. Sanctus (Sanities Mix)
  6. Broken Bird
  7. Chinese Envoy
  8. Changes Made
  9. Library of Force (feat. Man In The Book Excerpt)
  10. Close Watch
  11. If You Were Still Around (Choir Reprise)
  12. Back To The End
"The rawness and immediacy that comes from making mistakes, as I did with ...New Society, that goes away when you do it again, so you need something else in its place. My motivation at the time was to try and escape, to refocus my life on stuff other than what was going on, and turn into something of value later on, which is a big part of why I wanted to present the album in the different way. My conviction is different as it was then.

Also, (...) I can't easily go back to the original. A lot of aggro and despair went into it, it became a sort of personal exorcism, and I recognise every gargoyle as they come along — even it they made the album at the time."

From his official website (November 17, 2015):

33 years since its original arrival, January 22 will see the release of the re-mastered version of one of John Cale’s most unique and lauded solo records, Music For A New Society, alongside a visceral new reworking of the album under the title M:FANS – a record that explores the relationship between old and new, in terms of the sound and vision, and Cale’s memories of the experience, in terms of his life, and the recording.

Overseen by John Cale, the long out of print Music For A New Society has been completely re-mastered from the original files, while its download card includes three exclusive tracks: two outtakes from the original sessions, and one previously unheard gem – ‘Library of Force’ (not true: it's on the 1993 CD reissue - HCTF). M:FANS re-contextualises the original songs into radical new forms to resonate with the digital age, and contains the new recording of a previously lost track from the original session, ‘Back To The End’.

In 1982, Music For A New Society sounded exactly like its title: something futuristic, a new kind of songwriting exercise. Today, M:FANS is exactly that too: full of electrical crackle and disturbed frequencies, a different kind of dystopian future awaits.

The new Prelude for includes a bit of a telephone conversation with his father (in English) and mother (in Welsh). The reimagined album also has a new closing track, Back to the End, serving as a summary of sorts.

M:FANS videos

Two reimagined tracks got the video treatment: If You Were Still Around in 2014 and Close Watch in 2015. Both clips directed by Abigail Portner.

Credits (original album):

All songs written by John Cale, except If You Were Still Around and Risé, Sam And Rimsky-Korsakov by John Cale and Sam Shepard, and Damn Life by John Cale and Risé Cale.

John Cale: vocals, guitars, keyboards
Alan Lanier
D.J. Young
David Lichtenstein
John Wonderling
Mike McLintock
Pipe Major
Tom Fitzgibbon
Robert Elk
Risé Cale: vocal on Risé, Sam And Rimsky-Korsakov

Other credits:
Recorded and mixed at Sky Line Studios, NYC, USA
Producer: John Cale
Engineer: David Lichtenstein
Assistant engineer: David Young
Cover photo: Betsey Johnson
Design: Rob O'Connor

Credits (M:FANS):

John Cale: vocals, guitars, keyboards, viola, noises, bass programming
Dustin Boyer; guitar, drum machine, bass, loops
Deantoni Parks: keyboards
Alex Thomas: drums, samples, triggers
Ralph Esposito; synth bass (Close Watch)
Joey Maramba; synth bass, loops
Amber Coffman: vocals (Close Watch)
Matt Fish: cello
Jesse Green: violin
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson: viola
Thomas Lea: viola
Chris Batista: trumpet
Arthur George Cale: telephone conversation in "Prelude"
Margaret Davies Cale: telephone conversation in "Prelude"
New Direction Church: choir, directed by Elder Benjamin Goodman

Other credits:
Recorded and mixed at A.R.M. Studios, Los Angeles, USA
Executive producer: Nita Scott
Recording: Adam Moseley
Mixing: Dustin Boyer, John Cale, Adam Moseley, Nita Scott

© 1999- Hans Werksman