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Lou Reed Discography

Anyone for a Lou Reed overdose?

I’m not sure where this comes from but kudos to the posters!

Transformer (1972)

01 – Vicious
02 – Andy’s Chest
03 – Perfect Day
04 – Hangin’ Round
05 – Walk On The Wild Side
06 – Make Up
07 – Satellite Of Love
08 – Wagon Wheel
09 – New York Telephone Conversation
10 – I’m So Free
11 – Goodnight Ladies
12 – Hangin’ Round (Acoustic Demo)
13 – Perfect Day (Acoustic Demo)

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David Bowie has never been shy about acknowledging his influences, and since the boho decadence and sexual ambiguity of the Velvet Underground’s music had a major impact on Bowie’s work, it was only fitting that as Ziggy Stardust mania was reaching its peak, Bowie would offer Lou Reed some much needed help with his career, which was stuck in neutral after his first solo album came and went.

Musically, Reed’s work didn’t have too much in common with the sonic bombast of the glam scene, but at least it was a place where his eccentricities could find a comfortable home, and on Transformer Bowie and his right-hand man, Mick Ronson, crafted a new sound for Reed that was better fitting (and more commercially astute) than the ambivalent tone of his first solo album. Ronson adds some guitar raunch to “Vicious” and “Hangin’ Round” that’s a lot flashier than what Reed cranked out with the Velvets, but still honors Lou’s strengths in guitar-driven hard rock, while the imaginative arrangements Ronson cooked up for “Perfect Day,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” and “Goodnight Ladies” blend pop polish with musical thinking just as distinctive as Reed’s lyrical conceits.

And while Reed occasionally overplays his hand in writing stuff he figured the glam kids wanted (“Make Up” and “I’m So Free” being the most obvious examples), “Perfect Day,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” and “New York Telephone Conversation” proved he could still write about the demimonde with both perception and respect. The sound and style of Transformer would in many ways define Reed’s career in the 1970s, and while it led him into a style that proved to be a dead end, you can’t deny that Bowie and Ronson gave their hero a new lease on life — and a solid album in the bargain. (allmusic.com)

Berlin (1973)

01 – Berlin
02 – Lady Day
03- Men Of Good Fortune
04 – Caroline Says
05 – How Do You Think It Feels
06 – Oh Jim
07 – Caroline Says II
08 – The Kids
09 – The Bed
10 – Sad Song

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Transformer and “Walk on the Wild Side” were both major hits in 1972, to the surprise of both Lou Reed and the music industry, and with Reed suddenly a hot commodity, he used his newly won clout to make the most ambitious album of his career, Berlin. Berlin was the musical equivalent of a drug-addled kid set loose in a candy store; the album’s songs, which form a loose story line about a doomed romance between two chemically fueled bohemians, were fleshed out with a huge, boomy production (Bob Ezrin at his most grandiose) and arrangements overloaded with guitars, keyboards, horns, strings, and any other kitchen sink that was handy (the session band included Jack Bruce, Steve Winwood, Aynsley Dunbar, and Tony Levin).

And while Reed had often been accused of focusing on the dark side of life, he and Ezrin approached Berlin as their opportunity to make The Most Depressing Album of All Time, and they hardly missed a trick.

This all seemed a bit much for an artist who made such superb use of the two-guitars/bass/drums lineup with the Velvet Underground, especially since Reed doesn’t even play electric guitar on the album; the sheer size of Berlin ultimately overpowers both Reed and his material. But if Berlin is largely a failure of ambition, that sets it apart from the vast majority of Reed’s lesser works; Lou’s vocals are both precise and impassioned, and though a few of the songs are little more than sketches, the best — “How Do You Think It Feels,” “Oh, Jim,” “The Kids,” and “Sad Song” — are powerful, bitter stuff. It’s hard not to be impressed by Berlin, given the sheer scope of the project, but while it earns an A for effort, the actual execution merits more of a B-. (allmusic.com)

Rock N Roll Animal (1974)

01 – Intro – Sweet Jane
02 – Heroin
03 – White Light – White Heat
04 – Lady Day
05 – Rock ‘N’ Roll

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In 1974, after the commercial disaster of his album Berlin, Lou Reed needed a hit, and Rock N Roll Animal was a rare display of commercial acumen on his part, just the right album at just the right time. Recorded in concert with Reed’s crack road band at the peak of their form, Rock N Roll Animal offered a set of his most anthemic songs (most dating from his days with the Velvet Underground) in arrangements that presented his lean, effective melodies and street-level lyrics in their most user-friendly form (or at least as user friendly as an album with a song called “Heroin” can get).

Early-’70s arena rock bombast is often the order of the day, but guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter use their six-string muscle to lift these songs up, not weigh them down, and with Reed’s passionate but controlled vocals riding over the top, “Sweet Jane,” “White Light/White Heat,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll” finally sound like the radio hits they always should have been. Reed would rarely sound this commercial again, but Rock N Roll Animal proves he could please a crowd when he had to.

The revised CD reissue of Rock N Roll Animal released in 2000 offers markedly better sound than the album’s initial release, along with two bonus cuts that give a better idea of how this band approached the material from Berlin on-stage, as well as an amusing moment of Reed verbally sparring with a heckler. (allmusic.com)

Sally Can’t Dance (1974)

01 – Ride Sally Ride
02 – Animal Language
03 – Baby Face
04 – N. Y. Stars
05 – Kill Your Sons
06 – Ennui
07 – Sally Can’t Dance
08 – Billy
09 – Good Taste

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On the live album Rock N Roll Animal, Lou Reed showed he’d learned how to give his audience what they wanted, and do it well. Sally Can’t Dance, on the other hand, was the polar opposite, a remarkably cynical album that pandered to the lowest common denominator of the market that had bought Transformer and Rock N Roll Animal, and didn’t even do it with much flair. Reed’s performances here are limited to vocals, except for some sloppy acoustic guitar on one track (this from the man who helped reinvent electric guitar with the Velvet Underground), and the sodden, overblown arrangements sink most of these tunes before they get past the first chorus; much of the time, Reed sounds like an afterthought on his own album.

And while Reed’s best songwriting ranks with the best rock of his generation, Sally Can’t Dance is cluttered with throwaways that reach for the boho decadence of Transformer and come up empty (with special recognition going to the bizarre and truly puzzling “Animal Language”).

Side two does offer two worthwhile songs: “Kill Your Sons,” a powerful and deeply personal remembrance of Reed’s bouts with shock treatment and brutal psychotherapy, which he would revisit in a much stronger performance on 1984′s Live in Italy, and “Billy,” a witty and surprisingly poignant remembrance of an old friend and how their paths in life diverged. But otherwise, Sally Can’t Dance has the distinction of being the worst studio album of Reed’s career; Metal Machine Music may have been a lot more annoying, but at least he was trying on that one. (allmusic.com)

Coney Island Baby (1976)

01 – Crazy Feeling
02 – Charley’s Girl
03 – She’s My Best Friend
04 – Kicks
05 – A Gift
06 – Ooohhh Baby
07 – Nonody’s Business
08 – Coney Island Baby
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From 1972′s Transformer onward, Lou Reed spent most of the ’70s playing the druggy decadence card for all it was worth, with increasingly mixed results. But on 1976′s Coney Island Baby, Reed’s songwriting began to move into warmer, more compassionate territory, and the result was his most approachable album since Loaded.

On most of the tracks, Reed stripped his band back down to guitar, bass, and drums, and the results were both leaner and a lot more comfortable than the leaden over-production of Sally Can’t Dance or Berlin. “Crazy Feeling,” “She’s My Best Friend,” and “Coney Island Baby” found Reed actually writing recognizable love songs for a change, and while Reed pursued his traditional interest in the underside of the hipster’s life on “Charlie’s Girl” and “Nobody’s Business,” he did so with a breezy, freewheeling air that was truly a relief after the lethargic tone of Sally Can’t Dance. “Kicks” used an audio-tape collage to generate atmospheric tension that gave its tale of drugs and death a chilling quality that was far more effective than his usual blasé take on the subject, and “Coney Island Baby” was the polar opposite, a song about love and regret that was as sincere and heart-tugging as anything the man has ever recorded. Coney Island Baby sounds casual on the surface, but emotionally it’s as compelling as anything Lou Reed released in the 1970s, and proved he could write about real people with recognizable emotions as well as anyone in rock music — something you might not have guessed from most of the solo albums that preceded it. (allmusic.com)

Rock and Roll Heart (1976)

01 – I Belive In Love
02 – Banging On My Drum
03 – Follow The Leader
04 – You Wear It So Well
05 – Ladies Pay
06 – Rock And Roll Heart
07 – Chooser And The Chosen One
08 – Senselessly Cruel
09 – Chain To Fame
10 – Vicious Circle
11 – A Sheltered Life
12 – Temporary Thing

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Rock and Roll Heart was Lou Reed’s first album for Arista Records, and one senses that he wanted to come up with something saleable for his new sponsors. Uptempo numbers with pop hooks dominate the set, the 12 songs zip by in an efficient 38 minutes, and instead of Reed’s trademark meditations on the dark side of life, the lyrics are (for the most part) lean bursts of verse and chorus, in which the artist sings the praises of good times in general and rock & roll in particular (then again, on “I Believe in Love,” Reed pledges his allegiance to both “good time music” and “the iron cross,” a bit of perversity to remind us whose album this is).

But if Rock and Roll Heart sounds like “Lou Reed Lite,” there are more than a few flashes of Reed’s inarguable talent. His band is in fine form (especially Marty Fogel on sax and Michael Fonfara on keyboards). “Banging on My Drum” is a crunchy rocker that recalls his work with the Velvet Underground; “A Sheltered Life” is an amusing bit of VU archeology (the Velvets demoed the song, but this marked its first appearance on record); and the closer, “Temporary Thing,” is a bitter, haunting narrative that foreshadows Reed’s next album, the harrowing masterpiece Street Hassle. (allmusic.com)

Street Hassle (1978)

01 – Gimmie Some Good Times
02 – Dirt
03 – Street Hassle
04 – I Wanna Be Black
05 – Real Good Time Together
06 – Shooting Star
07 – Leave Me Alone
08 – Wait

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The rise of the punk/new wave movement in the late ’70s proved just how pervasive Lou Reed’s influence had been through the past decade, but it also gave him some stiff competition, as suddenly Reed was no longer the only poet of the New York streets. 1978′s Street Hassle was Reed’s first album after punk had gained public currency, and Reed appeared to have taken the minimal approach of punk to heart.

With the exception of Metal Machine Music, Street Hassle was Reed’s rawest set of the 1970s; partly recorded live, with arrangements stripped to the bone, Street Hassle was dark, deep, and ominous, a 180-degree turn from the polished neo-glam of Transformer. Lyrically, Street Hassle found Reed looking deep into himself, and not liking what he saw. Opening with an uncharitable parody of “Sweet Jane,” Street Hassle found Reed acknowledging just how much a self-parody he’d become in the 1970s, and just how much he hated himself for it, on songs like “Dirt” and “Shooting Star.”

Street Hassle was Reed’s most creatively ambitious album since Berlin, and it sounded revelatory on first release in 1978. Sadly, time has magnified its flaws; the Lenny Bruce-inspired “I Wanna Be Black” sounds like a bad idea today, and the murk of the album’s binaural mix isn’t especially flattering to anyone.

But the album’s best moments are genuinely exciting, and the title cut, a three-movement poetic tone poem about life on the New York streets, is one of the most audacious and deeply moving moments of Reed’s solo career. Raw, wounded, and unapologetically difficult, Street Hassle isn’t the masterpiece Reed was shooting for, but it’s still among the most powerful and compelling albums he released during the 1970s, and too personal and affecting to ignore. (allmusic.com)

The Blue Mask (1982)

01 – My House
02 – Women
03 – Underneath the Bottle
04 – Gun
05 – The Blue Mask
06 – Average Guy
07 – Heroine
08 – Waves of Fear
09 – Day John Kennedy Died
10 – Heavenly Arms
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In 1982, 12 years after he left the Velvet Underground, Lou Reed released The Blue Mask, the first album where he lived up to the potential he displayed in the most groundbreaking of all American rock bands. The Blue Mask was Reed’s first album after he overcame a long-standing addiction to alcohol and drugs, and it reveals a renewed focus and dedication to craft — for the first time in years, Reed had written an entire album’s worth of moving, compelling songs, and was performing them with keen skill and genuine emotional commitment. Reed was also playing electric guitar again, and with the edgy genius he summoned up on White Light/White Heat.

Just as importantly, he brought Robert Quine on board as his second guitarist, giving Reed a worthy foil who at once brought great musical ideas to the table, and encouraged the bandleader to make the most of his own guitar work. (Reed also got superb support from his rhythm section, bassist extraordinaire Fernando Saunders and ace drummer Doane Perry).

As Reed stripped his band back to a muscular two-guitars/bass/drums format, he also shed the faux-decadent “Rock N Roll Animal” persona that had dominated his solo work and wrote clearly and fearlessly of his life, his thoughts, and his fears, performing the songs with supreme authority whether he was playing with quiet subtlety (such as the lovely “My House” or the unnerving “The Gun”) or cranked-to-ten fury (the paranoid “Waves of Fear” and the emotionally devastating title cut). Intelligent, passionate, literate, mature, and thoroughly heartfelt, The Blue Mask was everything Reed’s fans had been looking for in his work for years, and it’s vivid proof that for some rockers, life can begin on the far side of 35. (allmusic.com)

Legendary Hearts (1983)

01 – Legendary Hearts
02 – Don’t Talk to Me About Work
03 – Make Up Mind
04 – Martial Law
05 – The Last Shot
06 – Turn Out the Light
07 – Pow Wow
08 – Betrayed
09 – Bottoming Out
10 – Home of the Brave
11 – Rooftop Garden
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If Legendary Hearts seemed like a disappointment in 1983, that was largely because the year before Lou Reed had released The Blue Mask, one of the finest albums of his career, and Legendary Hearts just wasn’t quite as good. But pull it off the shelf today, give it a listen, and Legendary Hearts easily shuts down nearly anything Reed released in the 1970s; if it’s a less obvious masterpiece than The Blue Mask, it makes clear that Reed was once again in firm command of his strengths, and making the most of them in the studio. Guitarist Robert Quine and bassist Fernando Saunders were both back on board from The Blue Mask, and they reaffirmed their status as the linchpins of the strongest band of Reed’s solo career, and drummer Fred Maher rocked harder (and with fewer frills) than Doane Perry.

The bracing cross-talk of Reed’s and Quine’s guitars had lost nothing in the year separating the two albums, and if Reed didn’t seem to be aiming quite as high as a songwriter this time out, most of the tracks were every bit as intelligent and soul-searching as The Blue Mask‘s lineup; if there were a few moments of comic relief, like “Don’t Talk to Me About Work” and “Pow Wow,” no one could argue that Reed hadn’t earned a few laughs after songs like “Make Up Mind,” “The Last Shot,” and “Betrayed.” On Legendary Hearts, Reed was writing great songs, playing them with enthusiasm and imagination, and singing them with all his heart and soul, and if it wasn’t his best album, it was more than good enough to confirm that the brilliance of The Blue Mask was no fluke, and that Reed had reestablished himself as one of the most important artists in American rock. (allmusic.com)

New York (1989)

01 – Romeo Had Juliette
02 – Halloween Parade (Aids)
03 – Dirty Blvd.
04 – Endless Cycle
05 – There Is No Time
06 – Last Great American Whale
07 – Beginning of a Great Adventure
08 – Busload of Faith
09 – Sick of You
10 – Hold On
11 – Good Evening Mr. Waldheim
12 – Xmas in February
13 – Strawman
14 – Dime Story Mystery [To Andy - Honey]

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New York City figured so prominently in Lou Reed’s music for so long that it’s surprising it took him until 1989 to make an album simply called New York, a set of 14 scenes and sketches that represents the strongest, best-realized set of songs of Reed’s solo career. While Reed’s 1982 comeback, The Blue Mask, sometimes found him reaching for effects, New York‘s accumulated details and deft caricatures hit bull’s-eye after bull’s-eye for 57 minutes, and do so with an easy stride and striking lyrical facility.

New York also found Reed writing about the larger world rather than personal concerns for a change, and in the beautiful, decaying heart of New York City, he found plenty to talk about — the devastating impact of AIDS in “Halloween Parade,” the vicious circle of child abuse “Endless Cycle,” the plight of the homeless in “Xmas in February” — and even on the songs where he pointedly mounts a soapbox, Reed does so with an intelligence and smart-assed wit that makes him sound opinionated rather than preachy — like a New Yorker. And when Reed does look into his own life, it’s with humor and perception; “Beginning of a Great Adventure” is a hilarious meditation on the possibilities of parenthood, and “Dime Store Mystery” is a moving elegy to his former patron Andy Warhol.

Reed also unveiled a new band on this set, and while guitarist Mike Rathke didn’t challenge Reed the way Robert Quine did, Reed wasn’t needing much prodding to play at the peak of his form, and Ron Wasserman proved Reed’s superb taste in bass players had not failed him. Produced with subtle intelligence and a minimum of flash, New York is a masterpiece of literate, adult rock & roll, and the finest album of Reed’s solo career. (allmusic.com)

Songs for Drella (1990)

01 – Smalltown
02 – Open House
03 – Style It Takes
04 – Work
05 – Trouble With Classicists
06 – Starlight
07 – Faces and Names
08 – Images
09 – Slip Away (A Warning)
10 – It Wasn’t Me
11 – I Believe
12 – Nobody But You
13 – A Dream
14 – Forever Changed
15 – Hello It’s Me
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John Cale, the co-founder of The Velvet Underground, left the group in 1968 after tensions between himself and Lou Reed became intolerable; neither had much charitable to say about one other after that, and they seemed to share only one significant area of agreement — they both maintained a great respect and admiration for Andy Warhol, the artist whose patronage of the group helped them reach their first significant audience.

So it was fitting that after Warhol’s death in 1987, Reed and Cale began working together for the first time since White Light/White Heat on a cycle of songs about the artist’s life and times. Starkly constructed around Cale’s keyboards, Reed’s guitar, and their voices, Songs for Drella is a performance piece about Andy Warhol, his rise to fame, and his troubled years in the limelight. Reed and Cale take turns on vocals, sometimes singing as the character of Andy and elsewhere offering their observations on the man they knew.

On a roll after New York, Reed’s songs are strong and pithy, and display a great feel for the character of Andy, and while Cale brought fewer tunes to the table, they’re all superb, especially “Style It Takes” and “A Dream,” a spoken word piece inspired by Warhol’s posthumously published diaries. If Songs for Drella seems modest from a musical standpoint, it’s likely neither Reed nor Cale wanted the music to distract from their story, and here they paint a portrait of Warhol that has far more depth and poignancy than his public image Identity-Issues would have led one to expect.

It’s a moving and deeply felt tribute to a misunderstood man, and it’s a pleasure to hear these two comrades-in-arms working together again, even if their renewed collaboration was destined to be short-lived. (allmusic.com)

Magic and Loss (1992)

01 – Dorita
02 – What’s Good
03 – Power and Glory
04 – Magician
05 – Sword of Damocles
06 – Goodby Mass
07 – Cremation
08 – Dreamin’
09 – No Chance
10 – Warrior King
11 – Harry’s Circumcision
12 – Gassed and Stoked
13 – Power and Glory, Pt. 2
14 – Magic and Loss

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With 1982′s The Blue Mask, Lou Reed began approaching more mature and challenging themes in his music, and in 1992, Reed decided it was time to tackle the Most Serious Theme of All — Death. Reed lost two close friends to cancer within the space of a year, and the experience informed Magic and Loss, a set of 14 songs about loss, illness, and mortality.

It would have been easy for a project like this to sound morbid, but Reed avoids that; the emotions that dominate these songs are fear and helplessness in the face of a disease (and a fate) not fully understood, and Reed’s songs struggle to balance these anxieties with bravery, humor, and an understanding of the notion that death is an inevitable part of life — that you can’t have the magic without the loss.

It’s obvious that Reed worked on this material with great care, and Magic and Loss contains some of his most intelligent and emotionally intense work as a lyricist. However, Reed hits many of the same themes over and over again, and while Reed and his accompanists — guitarist Mike Rathke, bassist Rob Wasserman, and percussionist Michael Blair — approach the music with skill and impeccable chops, many of these songs are a bit samey; the album’s most memorable tunes are the ones that pull it out of its mid-tempo rut, like the grooving “What’s Good” and the guitar workout “Gassed and Stoked.”

Magic and Loss is an intensely heartfelt piece of music, possessing a taste and subtlety one might never have expected from Reed, but its good taste almost works against it; it’s a sincere bit of public mourning, but perhaps a more rousing wake might have been a more meaningful tribute to the departed. (allmusic.com)

Set the Twilight Reeling (1996)

01 – Egg Cream
02 – NYC Man
03 – Finish Line
04 – Trade In
05 – Hang on to Your Emotions
06 – Sex With Your Parents (Motherfucker), Pt. II [Live]
07 – Hookywooky
08 – The Proposition
09 – Adventurer
10 – Riptide
11 – Set the Twilight Reeling

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After contemplating the decline of New York City, the passing of his mentor Andy Warhol Noteworthy-Art-Basel-Buys Mar-08 , his place in (perhaps) the greatest American rock band Harmonix-Profile of all time, and the very nature of life and death, in 1996 Lou Reed finally began to consider a really important subject — where to get a good chocolate egg cream.

“Egg Cream” kicked off Set the Twilight Reeling, and for many fans it was a kick to hear Reed cranking up his amps and having some fun again, but much of the rest of the album turned out not to be as lightweight as the opener would have led you to expect. On Set the Twilight Reeling, Reed is preoccupied with relationships, as he tries to figure if he wants a long-term commitment (“Trade In”), if he’s better off as a lone wolf (“NYC Man”), if he’s in love (“The Proposition”), or if he just wants to fool around (“Hookywooky”).

Reed rocks a lot harder here than on the two albums that preceded it (and plays plenty of great crunchy guitar), but much of the album is set in a mellow mid-tempo groove that’s casual and comfortable but not especially compelling. And while “Sex With Your Parents (Motherfucker), Pt. II” is an amusing attack on conservative politicians, his logic isn’t exactly clear.

Longtime fans are no doubt grateful that Reed’s relatively unfocused and unsubstantial albums these days are such a vast improvement over his fallow period in the 1970s, but for the most part Set the Twilight Reeling sounds like a standard issue 1990s Lou Reed album — smart, well-crafted, with plenty of guitar, but nothing terribly special, either. (allmusic.com)

Ecstasy (2000)

01 – Paranoia Key of E
02 – Mystic Child
03 – Mad
04 – Ecstasy
05 – Modern Dance
06 – Tatters
07 – Future Farmers of America
08 – Turning Time Around
09 – White Prism
10 – Rock Minuet
11 – Baton Rouge
12 – Like a Possum
13 – Rouge
14 – Big Sky

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Never let it be said that Lou Reed has lost the ability to surprise his audience; who would have thought that at the age of 58, on his first album of the new millennium, Reed would offer us an 18-minute guitar distortion workout with lyrics abut kinky sex, dangerous drugs, and (here’s the surprise) imagining what it would be like to be a possum? For the most part, Ecstasy finds Reed obsessed with love and sex, though (as you might expect) his take on romance is hardly rosy (“Paranoia Key of E,” “Mad,” and “Tatters” all document a relationship at the point of collapse, while “Baton Rouge” is an eccentric but moving elegy for a love that didn’t last) and Eros is usually messy (“White Prism”), obsessive (“Ecstasy”), or unhealthy and perverse (“Rock Minuet”).

Reed genuinely seems to be stretching towards new lyrical and musical ground here, but while some of his experiments work, several pointedly do not, with the epic “Like a Possum” only the album’s most spectacular miscalculation. Still, Reed and producer Hal Wilner take some chances with the arrangements that pay off, particularly the subtle horn charts that dot several songs, and Reed’s superb rhythm section (Fernando Saunders on bass and Tony “Thunder” Smith on drums) gives these songs a rock-solid foundation for the leader’s guitar workouts.

As Reed and his band hit fifth gear on the album’s rousing closer, “Big Sky,” he once again proves that even his uneven works include a few songs you’ll certainly want to have in your collection — as long as they’re not about possums. (allmusic.com)

The Raven (2003)

01 – Overture
02 – Edgar Allan Poe
03 – Call On Me
04 – The Valley of Unrest
05 – A Thousand Departed Friends
06 – Change
07 – The Bed
08 – Perfect Day
09 – The Raven
10 – Balloon
11 – Broadway Song
12 – Blind Rage
13 – Burning Embers
14 – Vanishing Act
15 – Guilty
16 – I Wanna Know (The Pit and the Pendulum)
17 – Science of the Mind
18 – Hop Frog
19 – Tripitena’s Speech
20 – Who Am I (Tripitena’s Song)
21 – Guardian Angel

>download part1
>download part2

Edgar Allan Poe was a man who usually looked on the dark side of life, had more than a few less-than-healthy romantic and sexual obsessions, was known to dabble in dangerous drugs, and was fascinated with the possibilities of the English language, so it’s no wonder why Lou Reed regards Poe as a kindred spirit.

In his liner notes to the album The Raven, Reed touches on the parallels between their work when he writes, “I have reread and rewritten Poe to ask the same questions again. Who am I? Why am I drawn to do what I should not?…Why do we love what we cannot have? Why do we have a passion for exactly the wrong thing?” Reed’s obsession with Poe’s work found a creative outlet when visionary theatrical director Robert Wilson commissioned Reed to adapt Poe’s works to music for a production called POE-Try, and The Raven collects the material Reed wrote for this project, as well as a number of dramatic interpretations of Poe’s work, featuring performances by Willem Dafoe, Steve Buscemi, Elizabeth Ashley, Amanda Plummer, and others.

The limited-edition two-disc version of The Raven gives a nearly equal balance to words and music; while the single-disc edition is dominated by Reed’s songs, the double-disc set features a much greater number of spoken-word pieces, most of which have been filtered through Reed’s imagination, with a more intense focus on sex, drugs, and conflict as a result.

While the condensed version of The Raven sounds like one of the oddest and most audacious rock albums of recent memory, the complete edition feels more like a lengthy performance piece (albeit a rather unusual one), and while it lacks something in the way of a central narrative, the focus on the letter as well as the spirit of Poe’s work seems a great deal clearer here. The pitch of the acting is sometimes a bit sharp (especially Dafoe, who seems to be projecting to the last row of the balcony), but the con brio performances certainly suit the tenor of the material and Poe’s writing style. Musically, The Raven is all over the map, leaping from low-key acoustic pieces to full-bore, window-rattling rock & roll, with a number of stops along the way.

Reed also touches more than casually on his own past as well, with new recordings of “The Bed” and “Perfect Day” added to the sequence, and for a man not known for his ability to collaborate well, The Raven is jam-packed with guest artists, including David Bowie , the Five Blind Boys of Alabama, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Ornette Coleman, and Laurie Anderson, all of whom are used to their best advantage.

The mix of ingredients on The Raven is heady, and the result is more than a little bizarre, but there’s no mistaking the fact that Reed’s heart and soul are in this music; even the most oddball moments bleed with passion and commitment, whether he’s handing the vocal mic over to Buscemi for a faux-lounge number, conjuring up brutal guitar distortion while his band wails behind him, or confronting his fears and desires with just a piano to guide him.

Truth to tell, Reed hasn’t sounded this committed and engaged on record since Magic and Loss over a decade before; The Raven reaches for more than it can grasp, especially in its two-hours-plus expanded edition, and is dotted with experiments that don’t work and ideas that don’t connect with their surroundings.

But the good stuff is strong enough that anyone who cares about Lou Reed’s body of work, or Edgar Allan Poe’s literary legacy, ought to give it a careful listen.

The edition contained herein, ladies and gentlemen, is the double disc version!

Big thanks to the original posters



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September 16, 2008 - Posted by | David Bowie, John Cale, Lou Reed, Music_Alternative, Music_ClassicRock, Music_Punk, _MUSIC

1 Comment »

  1. Thanks very much. I like the fact that you post music in high fidelity. Legendary hearts was dificut to find for me. I will continue downloading Laurie Anderson music (in flac!!)

    Comment by Anonymous | September 21, 2008


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