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12 Reviews
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cathartic Rock Masterpiece
I think you need to have been to a very dark and unpleasant place some time in your life to appreciate this album. If you haven't been to anywhere dark yet, then be warned this album is good enough to take you there ! I think that is why some people find it very uncomfortable.

The song cycle works to create a journey through darkness, misery and pain,...
Published on 25 Jan. 2009 by M. littler

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted but dark, very dark...
I have to say most of the Amazon reviews about this album are just about right. After his masterpiece Songs for Drella, I was really looking forward to this and since the album was about death and bereavement, all the better for inspiring some great music. However there is definitely something missing in this thematically related set of songs. "Dorita" is a very brief...
Published on 11 Nov. 2009 by John Rafferty


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cathartic Rock Masterpiece, 25 Jan. 2009
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This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
I think you need to have been to a very dark and unpleasant place some time in your life to appreciate this album. If you haven't been to anywhere dark yet, then be warned this album is good enough to take you there ! I think that is why some people find it very uncomfortable.

The song cycle works to create a journey through darkness, misery and pain, reflecting responses of anger guilt frustration and desparation. I liked the mystical parallel reflecting a necessity for the journey through pain, in order to grow and accept loss and death as necessary parts of life. Then, in case by the end you still didn't get it, the title track gives a "Summation", "There's a bit of Magic in everything, but then some loss to even things out", and "Life is good, but not fair at all".

Musicaly the opening track "Dorita" makes one of my favourite ever rock introductions, but doesnt in any way set the style for the rest of the album, which has a very varied presentation. Including two different versions of the same song.

You will never hear this music in a shop or elevator. The lyrics might be compared with Dylan or Cohen ? The music is mainly quite simple and open with lots of space and clear vocals. It feels very well produced and carefully balanced.

I loved this album from first hearing it, but i dont recall anyone thanking me for sending them a copy. Its still a gem in my collection !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flinching in the face of death, 30 April 2012
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This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
From the first Velvet Underground album right up to his extraordinary and brilliant collaboration with Metallica, Lulu, Lou Reed has consistently been expanding the boundaries of what kind of topics can be explored through the medium of rock'n'roll. Here he moves beyond singing about drugs, illicit sex, violence and such subjects to tackle a few of the very big ones, the real taboos- death, cancer, grief.
I've always loved the first ten or 11 songs on this record but felt that he copped out a little in the last couple of more upbeat, rockier numbers, especially in the closing track, Magic and Loss, when he seems to come to terms with and pass on a few wise words about how to deal with senseless loss. To be honest, the lyrics sounded a bit hollow to me. Until I finally got it. You can never make sense of such horrible deaths but to move on in your own life, you have to find whatever formula, philosophy or thoughts will make it possible for you to find your own closure, even if some part of you knows that you are flinching and fooling yourself a little.
Aside from that one misgiving the rest of the album pulls no punches and ranges from the exceptionally beautiful to the extremely painful, from the absurd to the passionate, to the utterly profound. Standout tracks are the heart-rending Magician, the brutally honest Sword of Damocles and the old-fashioned tearjerker, Dreaming.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well crafted but dark, very dark..., 11 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
I have to say most of the Amazon reviews about this album are just about right. After his masterpiece Songs for Drella, I was really looking forward to this and since the album was about death and bereavement, all the better for inspiring some great music. However there is definitely something missing in this thematically related set of songs. "Dorita" is a very brief guitar effect instrumental which leads us into "What's Good", a competent rocker. "Power and Glory" which follows is fascinating, particularly since it makes use of the characterful contralto voice of Little Jimmy Scott, whose career enjoyed a late blooming thanks to his appearance on this album. This was also the first time since Nico that Reed had so prominently used someone else's voice and he would do so again in later years. "Magician" maintains the dirge like tempo before the very good "Sword of Damocles" wakes things up a bit. "Goodbye Mass" and "Cremation", while technically proficient, just make for a cold and bleak listening experience, although this I suppose is the point. "Dreamin'" however is both beautiful and moving with a very subtle melody and it will strike a chord with anyone who has suffered any sort of bereavement.

"No Change" kicks off the second half but by this time the lyrical references are starting to get a bit obvious and repetitive, but this is quickly followed by the bitter and vitriolic "Warrior King", the best song on the album. We are then treated to "Harry's Circumcision" which is really a short story set to music rather than a song, per se (Much in the fasion of "A Dream" on Songs for Drella"). It is both surreal and humourous and so quintessentially Lou Reed, but I'm not sure you would play it repeatedly. This is then followed by three angry tracks "Gassed and Stoked", a faster reprise of "Power and Glory" and the title track "Magic and Loss". These last three are I think just too personal to make a lot of impact on the listener and melodically are the most difficult to listen to. "Magic and Loss" in particular is just tuneless to me. There is a sense in which Lou Reed doesn't care what we think of this album because it is just something he has to do for himself. It's a bit like watching someone else go through therapy - no doubt worthwhile for them but not exactly a spectator sport. I saw him perform live around the time of release and he simply played every track on this album in the order in which it appears on the album, making no concession to the desires of his fans.

Overall there is much to be admired about this album - particularly "Warrior King", "Dreamin'" and "Sword of Damocles". However, in my view the set is about 3 songs too long and is weighed down by an absence of melody on many tracks and in places lacklustre production. Even the standout tracks could have been more cleverly presented to increase their impact and make the most of some clever riffs and melodies in the background. It seems as if Reed has deliberately left them a little understated, perhaps as a sign of respect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Rollercoaster, 20 Oct. 2009
By 
Gunther Schrank "gunz" (hobart/tasmania) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
Wow !!! A monumental piece, not only in music terms, but foremost concerning the lyrics. Our old friend, Master Reed, does not shirk from revealing his innermost secrets, and believe you me, he is not waxing lyrical in a redundant fashion, but is rather compelled by his existential fears to get some/certain things over and done with and at the same time yearning for spiritual renewal. I can only say THOSE WHO HAVE AN EAR, LET THEM HEAR;joyous, positive, dark and despairing; the perfect mental rollercoaster; enough said: only hearing is believing, behold the glass onion.
20/10/09
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As you get a bit older some artists make you ..., 21 Nov. 2014
By 
D. Bunting "david" (devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
As you get a bit older some artists make you realise how important they are or were well lou influence is more important
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some highlights in overall mediocre album, 8 Dec. 2001
By 
This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
This album includes some of my personal favourites among Lou Reed's songs, "Sword of Damocles - Externally", "Goodbye Mass - In a Chapel Bodily Termination" and "Cremation - Ashes to Ashes". Other good songs include the opening song, "What's Good - The Thesis" (a typical, but good, Reed rocker) and "Harry's Circumcision - Reverie Gone Astray" (a return to the story reading of "The Gift" (1968)). But other than those tracks, I find the album mediocre. That doesn't mean this isn't a must in your record collection, because as I mentioned some of the tracks are some of Reed's best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Magic and Loss, 12 April 2014
This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
I enjoyed the album Magic and Loss by Lou Reed to be very enjoyable as I do with all CD's from Reed and other members of The Velvet Underground.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, 8 Oct. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
This is one of Reed's saddest albums. Following a similar pattern to "Berlin", this album covers Reed's loss of close friends to cancer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, 21 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
The first side of this album is one of Lou's best.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More loss than magic, 17 Dec. 2002
By 
Peter Uys "Toypom" (Sandton) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Magic and Loss (Audio CD)
On this album Reed investigates mortality, loss, guilt, rage and resignation. Each song has a subtitle and a mystical symbol, tracking the issue in full circle and attempting to cover all aspects and relevant emotions of the chosen theme. The best tracks, because their melodies make them stand out, include Sword of Damocles (Externally) with its flash of humor ("That mix of morphine and dexedrine/We use it on the street"), Cremation (Ashes to Ashes), the strange, funny and sad Harry's Circumcision (Reverie Gone Astray) and the powerful rocker What's Good. As on his New York album, the instrumentation is sparse with only guitars, bass, percussion and drums. It is a moving and literate piece of work, but ironically lacks some of the magic found on most of his best albums. Perhaps because he chose a rigid framework, the overall impression is one of sameness and lack of variation. Still, it is by no means a uniformly bleak album, and at least lyrically, there is plenty of material that ranks among his best work. The sound is reminiscent of the New York album, but unlike that album which is his least personal work, this one focuses on the loss of specific friends and his reaction to death, making it highly personal and intimate in its exploration of universal themes. A good album, but not a Reed album that I listen to very often. My real rating is three and a half stars.
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