Musical palate cleanser: A belated R.I.P.

I have to confess that I have more of an intellectual appreciation for Lou Reed’s career than a passion for it.  Too much of his output struck me as being clever for cleverness’ sake alone – how else can you analyze something like Metal Machine Music? – but at his best, he certainly hit his share of home runs.

I had a college friend who was deeply into Reed and hated the obvious commercialism of Rock n Roll Animal (why, I don’t know, because there was definitely a broad wanna-be-a-rock-star streak in Reed), so that’s where I’m going today for my favorite Lou Reed song.  Enjoy.


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29 responses to “Musical palate cleanser: A belated R.I.P.

  1. jeff

    Lou Heads don’t like this record because he “sold out” on his minimalism thing. I don’t care. I love it too. He put together a great band for this tour. Transformer and New York are his best post VU work for me though.

  2. gastr1

    You can analyze MMM as being a big fuck-you to the musical establishment from someone who was far too much of a rebel to ever really be a rock star. And then you can go listen to Transformer and New York, like Jeff says, and everything is really all right.

  3. Noonan

    Lou’s obituary in Rolling Stone proclaims the Velvet Underground to be “the most influential American rock band of all time.” Now I remember why I quit reading RS twenty years ago.

    • gastr1

      Which band is more so? They could actually be right about that, considering VU’s primary role in punk, glam, postpunk, alt/indie rock and all variations therein. Obviously, as far as individual performers go, they are not there with Elvis and any number of bluesmen & r & b performers, but bands? Pretty influential.

      • Noonan

        It’s obviously subjective, but The Doors, Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, R.E.M., and Nirvana were all more influential in my opinion.

        • gastr1

          We can debate the Doors, Dead, and Beach Boys, those are good..but REM and Nirvana are the influenced, not the influencers, in this case. You knew that, right? They owe the debt to VU? REM may have covered a VU song or two, or three, way back when.

          • Noonan

            Of course REM was much influenced by the VU. That doesn’t exclude them from being more influential than the VU. Is Jack White more influential than the Flat Duo Jets? Most would say yes. Like I said, it’s all subjective.

            • gastr1

              Yes, it is. But VU is in part responsible for entire sub-genres that happened after them and didn’t exist before. They’re not solely responsible for those sub-genres, of course, but considering how many directions the influenced came from…You can’t say that about REM or Nirvana; they already were within the genres and helped expand them, not create whole new ones. Shoot, Jack White–don’t get me wrong, I like him–is just a half-step away from the MC5 & Stooges, really. Anyone he influences is probably more likely due to the true originals therein that he’s so much a product of himself.

        • gastr1

          REM’s VU cover song that was simply a rip-off, not a cover.🙂

          • AthensHomerDawg

            Wonder how many people would be shocked at the condo developments in Costa Rica that has REM money in it?

    • hassan

      VU also partly inspired a revolution in Poland. That’s pretty strong.

  4. hassan

    Everything that Lou did was distinctively Lou, yet he somehow managed to reinvent himself every few years. From VU to Transformer to Berlin to Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal to MMM to The Blue Mask to New Sensations to New York to Lulu. Each of these were decidedly different from the other, yet there was no mistaking they were all his. You may not like Lou Reed at all, but chances are you love a band that he heavily influenced.

  5. The Lone Stranger

    I detest Lou Reed. For whatever that’s worth. Heinous voice, flaccid lyrics and an opinion of himself that I always thought was way over-flattering. RIP just the same though.

  6. Scorpio Jones, III

    “Only 30,000 people bought the Velvet Underground’s first album…but every one of them started a band.” Brian Eno.

    It may be commercial, but if there is a better rock n’roll guitar riff than Steve Hunter’s on “Rock and Roll” somebody please send it to me.

  7. Ramble Tamble

    CCR was pretty influential too,

  8. Nate Dawg

    Senator or somebody please enlightend me- on the VU song Oh! Sweet nothin’ is that Lou Reeds vocal? I just can’t tell but I love that song. Pardon the ignorance please..& thanks.

  9. AthensHomerDawg

    Wow this blog could also be a music blog. Lotta savvy folks here.