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Berlin CD


Price: £4.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Only 12 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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£4.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Amazon's Lou Reed Store

Music

Image of album by Lou Reed

Photos

Image of Lou Reed

Biography

by Richie Unterberger

The career of Lou Reed defies capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he has made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to scary-looking junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. A firmer grasp of rock's earthier qualities has ensured a more consistent ... Read more in Amazon's Lou Reed Store

Visit Amazon's Lou Reed Store
for 144 albums, 10 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Berlin + Transformer
Price For Both: £10.16

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 May 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony Music Cmg
  • ASIN: B00000637V
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,499 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Berlin
2. Lady Day
3. Men Of Good Fortune
4. Caroline Says I
5. How Do You Think It Feels
6. Oh Jim
7. Caroline Says II
8. The Kids
9. The Bed
10. Sad Song

Product Description

BBC Review

Berlin may be a great album, it's just not an easy one to listen to. It's intensely dark in its lyrical content, charting the doomed relationship of Caroline and Jim following them through drug addiction, domestic violence and suicide. Not the cheeriest of subjects for a concept album.

First released in 1973, it was a commercial failure but became a cult classic. Berlin came hot on the heels of Reed's glam rock masterpiece Transformer. Anyone expecting a commercial follow-up was non-plussed to say the least. But 30 years after its debut, Reed is now touring the album for the first time, hence the re-issue.

Lou Reed has never been the most melodious of singers, but his gravelly, nasal, mumble-y singing suits the subject matter perfectly. His voice sounds like he has been there, done that, and adds an air of jaded, cynical depression to the tracks.

Who else could carry off lyrics like, 'Caroline says as she gets up off the floor/You can hit me all you want to, but I don't love you anymore/ Caroline says while biting her lip/ Life is meant to be more than this, and this is a bum trip'? It's not exactly Kylie Minogue territory.

But doom and gloom aside, musically Berlin is brave, adventurous and keeps on surprising you.

''Caroline Says I'' is a particularly odd track, sounding generally upbeat. Until you listen to the lyrics, that is. More creepily, ''Kids'', about Caroline's children being taken away, features producer Bob Ezrin's children screaming for their mother.

''The Bed'' sounds like a love song, but is instead about Caroline's suicide. The words are filled with regret and the soft acoustic sounds help you picture her drifting into unconsciousness.

Berlin is definitely a challenge, and is about as far away from pop, or dinner party music as you can get. But thanks to Ezrin's production it has a rich, lush sound with the string and horn sections, and backing choir (and occasional cracking guitar solo), showcased best on ''Sad Song''.

This was the sound of Lou trying something new, brave and ambitious at a time before he was in thrall to rock 'n' roll history. As such it's stood the test of time and you won't regret the time you spend listening to it. Just don't expect to be cheered up! --Helen Groom

Find more music at the BBC This link will take you off Amazon in a new window

NOTE:This title was released in 2003, however it plays a recording from 1998.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 April 2003
Format: Audio CD
These songs are harrowing but beautiful and ultimately rewarding if you can survive its labyrinthine descent into heartbreak and despair. The most melodic songs include Caroline Says I and II, the wistful Oh, Jim, the painful The Kids, the bleak The Bed and the soulful Sad Song. Over these beautiful melodies Reed lays his vocals that are so genuine, so apt and so gripping that listening to them is like being privy to the private details of a doomed relationship. Of course, these all fit the complete picture to create one of the most cohesive and searng concept albums in rock, from the jazzy intro of Berlin with its lounge piano through the spoken poem of Lady Day, right to the melancholy last refrains of Sad Song. The grand production and sympathetic arrangements add gravitas to the somber mood to create a dark masterpiece of epic proportions. Somewhat inaccessible to some fans, Berlin has nevertheless improved with time and remains one of Lou Reed's greatest albums.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan James Romley on 27 Jun. 2004
Format: Audio CD
From the cacophony of muted, distorted sound effects and twinkling piano of the opening title-track, right through to the coral backing-harmonies of Sad Song; Lou Reed's Berlin remains a shattering and deeply emotional trawl through the depths of misery, excess and theatrical despair. It's status as a cult-record is legendary; coming as it does on a wave of expectations (the most depressing album ever, the most intense listening experience ever, etc), most of which it lives up to... managing to fuse a sound that combines the heroin-chic of the Velvets and Nico with a further instrumental quality more akin to the thin white Duke (whilst also delivering what must be the most brutal album concept of all time).
Forget the public-school boy navel-gazing of The Wall... this is the real deal. A song-cycle about a couple of doped-up, washed up, drop outs going mad in a Berlin hotel room; cast adrift amidst an ocean of drug-use, mind-games, abuse, assault and sexual jealousy. It's how we would imagine the musical version of Donald Cammel and Nic Roeg's Performance would sound, if the LSD of the sixties had been replaced by the speed and junk of the era-of-Berlin. Reed opens himself up emotionally in a way few artists would dare to do; relating lyrics that point to a damaged and bitter psyche left hurt and destroyed by excess and paranoia, whilst leaving his lyrics to some extent, open to interpretation... though at the same time, they're as clear as crystal (if you get what I mean??).
It is this kind of emotional back-and-forth and juxtaposition of light and dark aspects that makes Berlin what it is...
Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mr. F. S. Prince on 11 July 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have read so many times that 'Berlin' is a depressing album and admittedly at times it is very dark. However, the darkness is largely conveyed lyrically with much of the music quite euphoric in sound. These elements blend to produce one of the most beautiful and interesting albums of all time. In my opinion the closing duo of 'The Bed' and 'Sad Song' are absolute perfection. If you don't own this album then I strongly suggest purchasing it and giving it a few listens. It is a bit of a slow burner but well worth being patient with! Enjoy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 22 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
These songs are harrowing but beautiful and ultimately rewarding if you can survive the album's labyrinthine descent into misery and despair. The most melodic songs include Caroline Says I and II, the wistful Oh Jim, the painful The Kids, the bleak The Bed and Sad Song which is soulful in its melancholia.

Over these beautiful melodies Reed lays his vocals that are so authentic, apt and gripping that listening to them is like seeing snippets of a movie. Of course, they form a complete picture to create one of the most cohesive and searing concept albums in rock.

From the jazzy intro of Berlin with its lounge piano & brief strains of Happy Birthday through Lady Day with its spoken & sung segments, right to the melancholy last refrains of Sad Song, the album holds one's ears & attention. Berlin is unique in Reed's body of work although tracks like Oh Jim & How Do You Think It Feels would have fitted well on Transformer.

The sensitive production & sympathetic arrangements add gravitas to the somber mood to create a dark masterpiece of epic proportions. It's not really a rock album & therefore somewhat inaccessible to some fans. Berlin has in my opinion improved with time and remains one of Lou Reed's most singular achievements.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 27 Jan. 2003
Format: Vinyl
What is often overlooked in judging this bleak but great concept album, is the brilliance of the individual songs. It contains some of Reed's most memorable numbers like the melodic Caroline Says I and II, the tender, wistful Oh, Jim, the heartbreaking The Kids, the desolate The Bed and the majestic Sad Song. Over these beautiful melodies Reed lays his vocals that are so genuine, so apt and so gripping that listening to them is almost like seeing snippets of a movie. Of course, these all fit the complete picture to create one of the most trenchant and vivid concept albums of all time, from the jazzy intro of Berlin through the spoken poem of Lady Day, right to the melancholy last refrains of Sad Song. The full production and lush arrangements add gravitas to the somber mood to create a dark masterpiece of epic proportions. Somewhat inaccessible to some fans, Berlin has nevertheless improved with time and stands as one of Lou Reed's major achievements.
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