Rock songs that invoke deep contemplation with splices of Egdar Allen Poetry. How could anyone possibly not admire this opus? People may not enjoy it, but I think it should be admired by everyone. It's ambitious, it's deep, in places it's brutal, in others beautiful. It's long, daring, it works as background music and it survives intense scrutiny. In short, as a piece of work, it's remarkably daring.
It has to be admired.
Enjoyment of this masterpiece, however, like everything, depends upon the individual. I was lucky enough to catch the live incarnations of some of these songs. I heartily believe Vanishing Act to be one of Lou's best songs, and he has a lot of songs. It's so delicate, so fragile, so unlike anything being produced by anyone. Lou's voice has certainly improved with age: Gone is the cool cynicism and wit, to be replaced by a hauntingly beautiful lament of a delivery that I find simply irresistable. Mix this with the absolutely stunning croon of Antony (sometimes as a backing singer, but he makes "Perfect Day" his own) and you have a humbling listen in your hands. It enriches.
"Who Am I?" is the song that got me into Lou Reed. I saw him perform it on Jools Holland in about 2003 and I was so blown away that I bought the NYC Man compilation. I was quite dissappointed with the version found on that, turns out the one I was looking for was here all along. I love it so much. I don't want to repeat myself, so just take any previously used adjectives and apply them here.
So Vanishing Act and Who Am I? are in my opinion two of the most affecting songs ever produced. Whilst the remainder of the album never catches up with these two joys, like I said, it's mightily impressive. Willem Dafoes reading of The Raven is gloriously dramatic, and Steve Buscemi's Broadway Song is very entertaining. Overall, it's a package that's well worth a purchase. Having purchased, you'll not only own two of the greatest songs ever, you'll own a vastly underrated masterpiece that will only truly be appreciated posthumously. And you'll be able to say that you were there from the start!