15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
The great Lou Reed album between 'Berlin'&'New York'.,
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This review is from: The Blue Mask (Audio CD)
'The Blue Mask' is overlooked compared to the popular 'Transformer' or the critical ressucitation that was 'New York'. I feel it is as good as 'NY'- though with less of the political stream of consciousness. This was recorded by a regernerating Lou Reed- who was cleaning his act up- I think it is his most concise album since 'Berlin'. The albums between had moments- 'Street Hassle', 'Coney Island Baby', 'Kill Your Sons', 'The Shot'- but were either badly produced or put next to filler (sometimes both...). Whatever- Lou's songwriting improved drastically and this was the result- an album that I think stands well next to the classic Velvets albums or the later works of genius: 'NY', 'Songs for Drella', 'Magic & Loss', 'Set the Twilight Reeling' & 'Ecstasy'.
Dennis Feranti helped develop the guitar sound that Lou theorized in those interviews with Lester Bangs and here Robert Quine (ex-Voivoid & recent compiler of Velvets live recordings 'The Quine Tapes')delivers the best foil to Lou guitarwise since Sterling Morrison.
The songs are great- light & heavy- reminding you of Stephen Malkmus solo album or The Strokes- 'Underneath the Bottle', the title track & 'Waves of Fear' are fairly gruelling. While the elegies of 'My House'(for Delmore Schwartz-'European Son') & 'The Day John Kennedy Died' (Lou's 'Warmth of the Sun')predict future songs: 'Dime Store Mystery', 'Hello it's Me' & 'What's Good?'. The ghosts of 'Metal Machine Music' are put to waste here- this was Lou's album where he looked to the future (in fact 'Average Guy' looks to his awful/brilliant pop single 'I Love you Suzanne' and his not-un-Billy Joel-like 'Rock'n'Roll Heart'!).
I think 'The Blue Mask' is one of the finest albums of the Eighties and one of the best records Lou has produced. With all the Hives and Strokes fans on a retro kick- I wonder if they will discover this excellent album?