Stylus advisor for area residents | The mystery and majesty of Lou Reed

I have always considered myself one Lou Reed fan – but maybe I’m not. Or at least not randomly, especially when it comes to his solo output. After leaving The velvet surface, the late legend made twenty studio albums as a solo artist, along with two more collaborations. I only knew five of those albums. So I decided to listen and review the remaining fifteen. Sometimes it felt like torture.

In short, Reed has a large basket of bona fide classics. Unique, unmistakable and groundbreaking songs that combine poetry and prose with diverse musical styles. But he also recorded a lot of terrible, terrible songs with his signature but bad vocals, along with excessive sax and fretless bass.

Compared to Reed’s solo catalog, I was already pretty well versed in everything The velvet surface included. That, of course, is where he first came to prominence. There are many things that characterize the Velvets. One of them is drumming Maureen “Mo” Tucker. Non-traditional for a rock band, they usually opted for a half kit consisting of a snare, tom, a cymbal and a bass drum, played with a mallet rather than a kick pedal. (One thing I noticed when listening to Reed’s solo material is that a lot of his songs have a similar drum sound or approach, in that there are no direct hi-hat or ride cymbal-led beats. The Tucker- influence continued throughout his career.)

Of course, Reed’s musical career started earlier The velvet surface. In the late 1950s he dabbled in doo-wop and recorded a single with his trio The Jades:

In college, he started hosting a radio show, played original music with various campus bands, and then was portrayed as a real group when he, along with a cast of studio musicians, created a number of knock-off alt-pop songs. for Pickwick. Like this incredible nugget:

His detuned, droning guitar on The ostrich is what attracted attention Johannes Cale – leading to the creation of the fiery partnership at the heart of The velvet surface. This band, and especially their debut album, would become one of the most influential alternative music groups of all time. The common saying is that almost no one bought their first record, but everyone who did started a band.

There were four Velvet base albums — The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), White light/white heat (1968), The velvet surface (1969) and Loaded (1970). Technically a fifth was called Squeeze (1973) which I don’t count because that’s just how it is Doug Yule on it from the actual tape… and, supposedly, Ian Paice on drums instead of Mo Tucker. You can read what Paice says about that HERE.

There are also a number of compilations, a box set and a handful of live albums. I’m aware of all those things. Reed left the band during the last week of their residency Max’s Kansas City in 1970.

What I didn’t know is that after being fired, Reed moved back to live with his parents in Long Island and even worked as a typist at his father’s accounting firm. A year later he signed a contract with RCA and started working on his self-titled debut solo album – one of many solo releases I hadn’t yet heard.

I’m going to go through all these new albums and give you my thoughts on them. I was already familiar with it Transformer (1972), Berlin (1973), Street stuff (1978), New York (1989) and Songs for Drella (1990). They’re all excellent, although I’m not particularly fond of them Berlin. I don’t think it works. Anyway, I haven’t reviewed them here. Maybe another time.

For me, the Lou saga ended with Ecstasy in 2000. Although he did have a beautiful voice The Bronxby Boeker Tfrom the 2011 album The Way of Memphis. Lou’s last studio recording, before his death on October 27, 2013, was a vocal line on The wanderlust Through Metricfrom their 2012 album Synthetic. His last self-penned song appears to have been The debt I owe which he contributed to the 2011 tribute compilation, Note of hope: A celebration of Woody Guthrie.

Reed’s last concert was in the Royal Albert Hall on August 10, 2012. His 13-song setlist included four songs from the much-maligned Metallica cooperation Lulu and three Velvet base songs, including the encore White light/white heat. His last appearance on stage was in Paris, at the Salle Pleyel concert hall on March 6, 2013. Lou sang Candy says of Anohni and the Johnsons. His widow Laurie Anderson says that on the morning of his death, he asked for help to get outside to his porch. His last words were: ‘Take me to the light.’

Below is a list of most of Reed’s solo albums, including a few that I didn’t cover in this collection because I can’t live by your rules (or even mine, apparently). They are ranked from worst to first. Click on the titles to read the individual reviews. Then enjoy my playlist with highlights from the albums.

Not rated | Hudson River Wind Meditations
19 | The bubbles
18 | Metal machine music
17 | Mistrial
16 | Rock and roll heart
15 | Lulu (with Metallica)
14 | The Raven
13 | Growing up in public
12 | Legendary hearts
11 | Set the Twilight Reeling
10 | New sensations
9 | The blue mask
8 | Sally can’t dance
7 | Songs for Drella (with John Cale)
6 | Lou Reed
5 | Ecstasy
4 | Magic and loss
3 | Coney Island baby
2 | Street stuff
1 | Transformer

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Area resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, artist, music collector and reseller. Listen (and buy) his music Bandcampemail him HEREfollow him further Instagram and check it out Discogs.