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on 2 April 2004
The last of the Lou Reed Michael Fonfara collaborations which began with 1974's 'Sally Can't Dance'. On this aggressive, tuneful and vociferous album, Lou and Michael share the writing and production credits. Michael Fonfara's melodic writing is dominant musically and this factor complements Lou's snarling, cynical and angry outbusts in the (semi-autobiographical?)lyrics of the songs. I really wish this band had stayed together much longer. The musical elements, timbre and instrumentation are more varied that we had become to expect from Lou - and this works. The songs, too, are more varied in tempo, ('So Alone') dynamics and melody. This album is a logical and musical progression from 1979's 'The Bells' and shows Lou as willing and able to share ideas with his band (and to give them the credits!)Listening to Lou's aggressive delivery on 'Standing on Ceremony' makes my hair stand on end. The beautiful 'How Do You Speak To An Angel' makes the most of Lou's newly-found expressive vocal, with a lovely guitar solo by Chuck Hammer. 'Think It Over' must be one of Lou's most beautiful and genuinely heartfelt songs ever. Simply listening to this colourful, loud, opinionated and complicated album makes me feel on top of the world - it somehow gives me confidence. What a pity Lou gave this up to be 'low key' 2 x guitars/bass/drums again.
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This is a very literate Lou Reed album, and not one of the critics' favourites. Yet it contains great songs like the title track, Love Is Here To Stay and the very catchy Power Of Positive Drinking. My other favourites include How Do You Speak To An Angel, My Old Man and Teach The Gifted Children with its poetic lyrics. The subject matter deals with relationships and the album has more of a warm, human feel than the classic works Reed is best appreciated for. By any other standard than Reed's own, this is a good rock album.
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2006
Maybe Lou had been indulging in listening to plenty of FM rock radio at the time of recording Growing Up In Public because that certainly seems to be the sound the album most closely resembles.

Growing Up In Public is very pompous and bombastic in places with its musicality but of course with Lou's singing it's never going to be a conventional FM rock sound.

Lou's vocals brim with vitality on many of the songs and he's not afraid to change his style abruptly when the need arises. In many ways the whole musical and vocal experience doesn't cohere very well and many of the songs sound distinctly disjointed.

Lyrically Growing Up In Public seems quite autobiographical as Lou recounts many of his early life experiences. However, how much of this is accurate is open to debate.

Ultimately Growing Up In Public is perhaps one of Lou's least played albums as it really isn't an easy listen. However in its favour is the fact it does attain a spirit of abandonment in common with much of his best early work (for maybe the last time). While he would release some highly praised work in years that followed it would always be more contained and focused - Lou would never again lay himself on the line in quite this way. It was recorded at the start of the eighties but in many ways it marked the end of an era.
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on 12 February 2016
This is one of Lou Reed’s lesser known albums but one that deserves another listen. It seems to have been overshadowed by the more critically acclaimed albums from the period such as The Blue Mask (1982). Growing Up in Public doesn’t break much new ground musically but does mark quite a contrast to the excesses of Reed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal persona of the 1970s.

On Growing Up in Public Lou collaborates in the writing with keyboardist, John Fonfara, who also shares the production credit. In the songs Reed often explores family issues and adult relationships. At the time he was approaching 40 years old and was about to get married to Sylvia Morales.

As a CD this album seems to only be available as a pricey import in the UK which means it doesn’t get the attention it deserves here. However it is well worth listening carefully to the lyrics (also printed in the CD booklet) and learning what Reed has to say at this turning point in his life. It is often both illuminating and quite humorous and delivered with more sensitivity than previously.
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'Growing Up In Public' is one of Lou Reed's hardest-to-find albums. The album didn't sell particularly well at the time, and after the patchy 'The Bells' album, and the riotous 'Take No Prisoners' live album, it seems a little muted. The main problem with the record, as a Lou Reed fan, is that he's lyrically pretty good on this album, but the backing tracks are just too uninspired, with cliched chord changes and anonymous playing. Songs like 'Think It Over' and 'Love Is Here To Stay' are crying out for some incisive music to back 'em up. Lou even tries to sing in one or two places, as opposed to his usual half-spoken delivery, and it's by no means an unpleasant experience. I think he'd exhausted the possibilities of his band at the time, and not long after he'd assemble the leaner, tougher crew that backed him up on 'The Blue Mask'. No doubt this'll turn up reissued at mid-price at some stage, and it's worth picking up on then, but I couldn't justify paying a high-priced import price.
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on 21 November 2013
The most underrated album In his body of work, for the life of me I cant understand why .Its a Brilliant personal Album articulate,funny and sad lyrically, musically varied rich and unsettling.Its the perfect marriage of music and lyric.So many outstanding songs (mine is probably SO ALONE and KEEP AWAY) I assumed growing up in public would be regarded as a classic Album by Lou Reed Fans I was sort of taken aback that its so underappreciated by critics on the sites and that the follow up THE BLUE MASK (while ok but surely no masterpiece) was the one to have.I Know musical taste is subjective but GROWING UP IN PUBLIC is to great to be simply dismissed and overlooked Its an Album that needs re-evaluation by fans and critics alike.
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This is a very literate Lou Reed album, and not one of the critics' favourites. The music tends towards mainstream radio rock, yet it contains great songs like the title track, Love Is Here To Stay and the very catchy Power Of Positive Drinking. My other favourites include How Do You Speak To An Angel, My Old Man and Teach The Gifted Children with its poetic lyrics. The subject matter deals with relationships and the album has more of a warm, human feel than the classic works Reed is best appreciated for. By any other standard than Reed's own, this is a good rock album that has stood the test of time very well.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a very literate Lou Reed album, and not one of the critics' favourites. The music tends towards mainstream radio rock, yet it contains great songs like the title track, Love Is Here To Stay and the very catchy Power Of Positive Drinking. My other favourites include How Do You Speak To An Angel, My Old Man and Teach The Gifted Children with its poetic lyrics. The subject matter deals with relationships and the album has more of a warm, human feel than the classic works Reed is best appreciated for. By any other standard than Reed's own, this is a good rock album that has stood the test of time very well.
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