Articles Tagged: Lou Reed

Certain Songs #987: Lou Reed – “Big Sky”

Album: Ecstasy
Year: 2000

Not that it mattered, because Lou Reed had a lifetime pass for his work with the Velvet Underground, bug as it turned out, Magic and Loss was the last time I felt any kind of personal connection to a Lou Reed album.

And while he never really stopped working — in the mid-1990s he turned his attention to live albums, opera, meditation albums and, er, Metallica — he only produced two more true solo albums, 1996’s Set The Twilight Reeling, and 2000’s Ecstacy, which featured perhaps the worst best album cover of all of his shitty album covers, a selfie of Lou coming.

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Certain Songs #986 – Lou Reed – “Sword of Damocles (Externally)”

Album: Magic and Loss
Year: 1992

Fuck cancer. That might be a hot take, but it’s mine, and I stand by it.

Eerie and spooky, “Sword of Damocles” rides a bed of acoustic guitars, an atmospheric bowed bass and an irregular drumbeat as he considers the plight of his friend, who is getting zapped by poison radiation in the vain hope it will cure their cancer.

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Certain Songs #985: Lou Reed – “What’s Good (The Thesis)”

Album: Magic and Loss
Year: 1992

After a pair of concept albums about New York City and Andy Warhol, on Magic and Loss Lou Reed decided he wanted to tackle death itself.

This was spurred by the imminent deaths of a pair of close friends of his, most notably the songwriter, Doc Pomus, who wrote or co-wrote a bunch of songs that you definitely know, from “Save The Last Dance For Me” to “Little Sister,” to “Sha La La La Lee,” and so the mood on Magic and Loss was appropriately darker than any of his solo albums since The Blue Mask.

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Certain Songs #984: Lou Reed / John Cale – “Work”

Album: Songs For Drella
Year: 1990

Of course the reason that Lou Reed & John Cale recorded Songs For Drella as a duo instead of with a full band is that they knew that a full band would instantly invite comparisons to their work with the Velvet Underground, and they wanted to make sure that the focus was on the stories they were telling about their mentor, the late Andy Warhol.

Which made sense, because for rabid Velvets fans such as myself, just the prospect of hearing the interplay of Cale’s keyboards and Reed’s guitar for the first time since the late 1960s was far more important than anything they had to say about Warhol, who I always perceived as important to their career, but not so much to their music.

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Certain Songs #983: Lou Reed – “Strawman (Live 1989)”

Album: Live in Toronto, 1989
Year: 1989

The first time I saw in Lou Reed in concert was on the New York tour.

It was April, 1989 at the now-gone Universal Ampitheater in Los Angeles, and not only did The Feelies open up, Lou joined them when they played “What Goes On” as their encore. Oh, and I pissed next to Richard Lewis, who of course was a Lou Reed fan. As for Lou, he played almost all of New York from start to finish, the climax of which was a version of one of my favorite songs on the album that made it even better..

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