Review Summary: Lou at his best. An essential for fans.
Lou tells us on the cover to listen to this one as if it's a book or movie. Just to sit down and listen to. I would definitely recommend you do this. And then listen to it again and again and again, as this album is just amazing. Recorded about 20 years after he first hit the music scene and he's still as relevant, poetic and hard-hitting as ever. Here's a song-by-song analysis:
1. Romeo Had Juliette - This one just sets up the album perfectly. The garage rock opening and then Lou counting in the band, following by a classic song. Fantastic lyrics (you could say that for literally everyone song on this album) and an enjoyable listen. 5/5
2. Halloween Parade - This one cools down the sounds a bit, shows off the twin guitars, which appear on each track, to great effective. A real chill, laidback song. 5/5
3. Dirty Blvd. - One of the best songs on the album. The lyrics are just like poetry and make the song on their own, but the classic Lou Reed vocals, guitar and chorus make this a truly great song. 5/5
4. Endless Cycle - One of the weaker songs, nothing too memorable about this one, but this is only relative to the high quality of this album. Nice guitar still. 4/5
5. There Is No Time - Lou shows us he can still rock on this one. The grungy, distorted power chords and the repeated "This is no time.." makes this a fantastic garage rocker. 4.5/5
6. Last Great American Whale - Another song which is more focused on the lyrics than the music. Tells the tail (man, I'm hilarious) of the "last great american whale" and Indians and the NRA and Americans. Contains one of my favourite Lou Reed lines aswell,
"My mother said she saw him in Chinatown, but you can't always trust your mother."
If not for the great story, it would probably be a boring track, but it is still one of my favourites. 5/5
7. Beginning of a Great Adventure - Just try and not tap your foot or shake your head or click your fingers to this. Real groovy and just so cool. Best guitar playing on the album I believe. Despite it being about Lou wondering whether he should have kids or not, it's still a really humourous songs.
"It might be fun to have a kid that I could kick around
Create in my own image like a god
I'd raise my own pallbearers to carry me to my grave
And keep me company when I'm a wizened toothless clod
Some gibbering old fool sitting all alone drooling on his shirt
Some senile old fart playing in the dirt
It might be fun to have a kid I could pass something on to
Something better than rage, pain, anger and hurt."
Just listen to it. 5/5
8. Busload of Faith - Great mix of the grungy electric with the cool, plucked acoustic on this one, along with even more classic lyrics. The song that made me want to listen to this album in the first place. Just a really enjoyable listen. 5/5
9. Sick Of You - This album just does not let you down. Another great song, some of the best lyrics as well. Some more real cool guitar.
"The radio said, "There were 400 dead
In some small town in Arkansas"
Some whacked out trucker
Drove into a nuclear reactor
Killed everybody he saw
Now he's on Morton Downey
And he's glowin' and shinin'
Doctors say this is a medical advance
They say the bad makes the good
And there's somethin' to be learned
In every human experience."
"They say the President's dead
No one can find his head
It's been missin' now for weeks
But no one noticed it
He had seemed so fit
And I'm sick of it"
I could seriously just quote this entire album and let that be my review. 5/5
10. Hold On - Not much to say. Just another catchy rocker with witty, quick lyrics. 4.5/5
11. Good Evening Mr. Waldheim - This one grew on me. Didn't much like this one, but it's one of my favourites now. A rocker with really great guitar and catchy vocals.
"Pontiff, pretty Pontiff
Can anyone shake your hand "
Or is it just that you like uniforms
And someone kissing your hand""
Another must listen I believe. 5/5
12. Xmas in February - This one brings the album back down again. A beautiful song, protesting war and the like. 5/5
13. Strawman - Just what you'd expect from New York by now. Fantastic lyrics and grungy guitar. One of the best on the album. Really not much more I can say that I haven't already. Just another amazing song. 5/5
14. Dime Story Mystery - A weirder song, similar to some of the stuff on Ecstasy. The string section really adds to the ominious feel of the track. It's difficult to explain this one, a fantastic song though. 5/5
This is Lou at his best. I may have over done it with quotes, but it's only because the lyrics are so great. I would recommend this to any fan of Lou's or just rock music in general. If you want to get into Lou's work you could definitely find worse albums to start off with (and you'd be hard done by to find better.) A true masterpiece, just buy it, sit down in a comfy chair and just listen to it. Then you'll understand.