Lou Reed LP reviewed by Lord Ouch

Music Reviews
Lou Reed LP reviewed by Earnest Drudge
Mar 1, 1989, 03:27



In 1988 Iggy Pop reaped accolades for taking a step backwards and making a record that used the superficial elements of his previous work. In 1989 Lou Reed will most likely accomplish the same feat. Iggy's record sounded as if he had read the positive critiques of The Stooges and decided to “do it again,” using second-hand descriptions as his inspiration. Lou Reed must have read that the Velvets and his first solo records were topical, streetwise and delicately beautiful, because he's written a record that sounds as second-hand and self-conscious as Iggy's.

The majority of songs on this (long) LP are nondescript narratives that consist of Lou describing everyday injustices and the ironies of everyone's lives but his. His detached observations seem as silly as much of what comes out of the mouths of middle-class “deviates” that comprise the current underground. The only time Lou really sounds concerned is on “Strawman,” a throwback to the stiff-lipped stoicism that typified his recent recordings. Otherwise, the music is as nondescript as the lyrics, with seemingly throwaway repetitive folk stylings.

For the most part New York sounds like a mediocre cliché of his past work. His specific references to Contragate, Morton Downey Jr., Tyson, etc., read like a current events class. These references, besides dating the LP, are lazy shortcuts. Why mention a group of specific incidents if pointed generalities could say more? Isolate songs such as “Endless Cycle” (which actually hints at the whys, not just the who's) and “Dimestore Mystery” (the arrangement sounds like what the Velvet Underground might actually sound like if they were around in 1989) are the best we've heard from Lou Reed in years, but as a whole, this LP doesn't hold up well. [Warner Bros]

-Earnest Drudge

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