Review #109: Transformer, Lou Reed

Karla Clifton
2 min readJun 16, 2021

#109: Transformer, Lou Reed

Lou Reed died when I was in college, and so I walked around saying that I loved Lou Reed, but in fact the only Lou Reed song I’d ever heard was “Walk On the Wild Side.” (I was pretty familiar with Velvet Underground but that doesn’t count.)

Well, that’s not technically true. I also knew him from his song with Gorillaz, “Some Kind of Nature” from Plastic Beach. I knew enough to know that it was very cool that a legend like Lou Reed was on a Gorillaz album, but not enough to really know why.

Here’s why: Lou Reed was like the patron saint of ’70s punk and had lots of famous admirers. David Bowie produced this album because he had such a musical crush on him or something.

FAVORITE SONGS:

“Vicious” — According to the RS blurb, this song was Andy Warhol’s idea. He suggested that Reed write a song called “Vicious” and added “You know, like, ‘Vicious/You hit me with a flower.’” What an insane nonsense man.

“Perfect Day” — This whole album is just darkly beautiful.

“Hangin’ Round” — A rock song! I love the line, You’re still doing things that I gave up years ago.

“Walk On the Wild Side” — Gosh, some of the language in this song sounds harsh to modern ears, but this song is really lovely.

“Satellite of Love” — I love when he goes I watched it for a little while/ I like to watch things on TV, because so do I!

“Wagon Wheel” — I think I like Lou Reed more than I like the Velvet Underground.

“New York Telephone Conversation” — I was told this sounds like “sad carnival music.”

“I’m So Free” — Okay, his backing singers throughout are so much fun!

“Goodnight Ladies” — I love when an album ends on a really old-timey sounding song.

LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:

“Andy’s Chest” — This sounds like a Shel Silverstein poem. You know what they say about honey bears/ When you shave off all their baby hair.

“Make Up” — I don’t know if this song is a tongue-in-cheek ode to make-up or is making fun of girls who wear make-up, but I hate it anyway.

IS RS FULL OF IT?

The thing is, Lou Reed had his fingers in the careers of so many other important artists, he needs to be represented somehow. Also, “Walk On the Wild Side” has stood the test of time.

Review #108: When The Pawn…, Fiona Apple

Review #110: Court and Spark, Joni Mitchell

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