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The Bells
 
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The Bells

12 May 2003 | Format: MP3

£5.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for £5.61 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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Song Title
Time
Popularity  
30
1
2:31
30
2
4:29
30
3
3:54
30
4
2:25
30
5
3:26
30
6
3:22
30
7
5:01
30
8
6:12
30
9
9:17
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Mar. 2005
Format: Audio CD
I love the three gripping songs All Through The Night, Families and The Bells. The first is a description of an all-night drunken party or pub crawl which contains some of Reed's most poetic lyrics and acute observations against a backdrop of bar crowd sounds, with a killer rhythm. Co-written with Don Cherry (who contributes trumpet and African Hunting Guitar to the album), All Though The Night is an exploration of the "post partum" depression that follows the completion of a novel or an album, plus all sorts of other world-weariness.
Families is autobiographical and moving, with a line or two advising his dad to let his sister manage the family business. The sound is dominated by electric guitars and guitar- and bass guitar synthesisers and the mood is mournful. The Bells itself is an awesome, majestic experience, something Reed has never done before or since. Hard to describe, perhaps it is his exploration of what Bowie did on Low - those gothic tracks like Warszawa, Art Decade, Weeping Wall, etc. but with more vocals.
Dissonant, atmospheric and jazzy, the sound consists of a barely audible monologue under the wails and drones of the saxophones and gong sounds for an eerie feel. The intensity build up slowly while the vocals become audible and at its height, Reed intones the line Here Come The Bells, for a magnificent conclusion.
The others are short songs - Disco Mystic is an amusing comment on the disco fever of the late 70s, whilst I Want To Boogie With You is more sombre and serious. These fall in the disco commentary genre like Frank Zappa's Dancing Fool and Cristina Monet's Blame It On Disco on her Doll In The Box album, and as such are good, not great.
The Bells is an uneven album, but the aforementioned three exceptional songs merit the four stars.
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Format: Audio CD
I recently got the Cd to replace the old scratchy vinyl I've had for years. It confirmed what I always knew. Lou Reed reaches the parts other musical geniuses can't reach.
Widely ignored, this album has a couple of barnstorming classic Reed tracks which touch nerves with both ease and disease. The Family will strike chords with those of you who are in a real place and Stupid Man will make you raise a knowing eye brow.
This is a jazzy album. Lots of horn and synth fill every beat of the record, facets lost on my duff vinyl. This is both dense and demanding.
Many clueless moan that Lou Reed failed to produce anything as good as the Velevet's stuff. What they often miss is the fact that his own stuff was great on his own terms, in a different way to the velvet's stuff.
Your loss, Lou has produced some of the most unique, demanding and rewarding music of the past thirty years. Don't let the fact it don't sound like the velvets put you off. It sounds like Lou and that is more than most musicians will ever achieve.
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Format: Audio CD
I think The Bells is a strong contender for Lou Reed's most underrated album. Part of the reason is The Bells is really not a very accessible album and much of its greatness only comes to the fore with repeated listens.

The jazzy influence which first became prominent on Rock And Roll Heart reaches its climax here. This album has very little in common with Rock And Roll Heart generally though as the sound is far more dense and the jazz influences are of a far more experimental nature. There is also a large change in Lou's singing style as he abandons his more typical flat talking-singing for a quavering vocal which seems to struggle to stay on any one note.

Lyrically it is quite interesting also. 'Families' in particular seems to have a strong autobiographical significance which was something he would continue with on occasions with the albums that followed.

In retrospect The Bells isn't only one of Lou's most underrated - it's also one of his very best.

Patience is a virtue though when listening to The Bells initially but perseverance certainly does pay off.
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By Peter Uys HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 July 2000
Format: Audio CD
I love the three stunning songs All Through The Night, Families and The Bells. The first is a description of an all-night drunken party or pub crawl which contains some of Reed's most poetic lyrics and acute observations against a backdrop of crowd sounds and a killer rhythm. Families is very autobiographical and moving, with a line or two advising his dad to let his sister manage the family business. But The Bells itself is an awesome, majestic experience, something he's never done before or since. Hard to describe, perhaps it's his exploration of what Bowie did on Low - those gothic tracks like Warszawa, Art Decade, Weeping Wall, etc. Dissonant, atmospheric and jazzy. The rest are short songs - Disco Mystic is a comment on the disco fever of the late 70s, as is I Want To Boogie With You. An uneven album, but those three classic songs make this a 4-star album.
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Format: Audio CD
Coming on the heels of "Growing Up In Public", one might be forgiven for thinking "The Bells" was cut from the same cloth. While "Growing" bubbled with energy, crisp production, and boasted Reed's finest lyrics to date, the songwriting was lackluster with keyboardsman Michael Fonfarra determining much of the musical direction. "The Bells", on the other hand, is much closer to the dark urban swirl of "Street Hassle".

The dirty brass sections, the speech-like inflection, the droning guitars, and the off-the-cuff riffs are all there. It's a tad cleaner, but "The Bells" is an album of attitude first and foremost. Street smart, urgent, ironic, personal, and wholly indifferent to its audience, it is Reed's hidden near-masterpiece. While not quite the slab of sleaze of "Street Hassle", it nevertheless oozes the Reed persona in every song, and you'll either be drawn by his articulate sophism, or be put off by his over-the-top charlatanry. Here is Reed dissecting friends, unravelling relationships, and taking a closer look at his shortcomings, employing wicked humor and inebriated observations. There's no stopping him, and even his panting, frenetic, and nasal singing is enough to leave you breathless. In fact, we would never hear him like this again on record -- it makes his later work sound slow moving and soporific. Overall,then, "The Bells" is Reed's most emotionally extrovertive and steamrolling album, and it's got songs to boot (all of them are class acts with the exception of tracks 2 and 9).

There are two songs, however, that get in the way. "Disco Mystic" is a joke, much like Metal Machine Music, but inverted. Rather than feedback, we have 4:30 minutes of inane repetition of an infantile melody credited to about 5 writers no less (!), among one of whom is Reed.
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