Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited 4 months for £0.99 Shop now Fitbit

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
13
3.9 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£5.05+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 4 January 2004
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.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 5 August 2006
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.
0Comment| 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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. All Through The Night is a brilliant rock song with a lilting rhythm, Families is a slow, brooding piece whilst the title track is Reed at his experimental best. I recommend the album to all devoted fans, but not to newcomers to the music of Lou Reed.
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 15 January 2013
The Bells is Lou Reed's greatest album. Whether he realised it, he created as ambitious and unique sound as he had with the VU stuff. It is a startling recording. Lou assembles his greatest band. The drumming is outstanding throughout. The use of dissonant noise in the background of the tracks. Don Cherry's contribution.The lyrics to these songs are funny. In a world of vocal cliche, Lou invents new ways of singing - Just listen to "All Thru The Night" and "Looking For Love'. The last track, "The Bells" stands comparison with "A Day In The Life". Each song here repays repeated listening. This is his most unified and consistent solo album. As brave as Bowie's Station To Station.
When this album was released it received a lot of negative, even scornful press. This may be explained by reviewers not having the time to listen to it closely. Perhaps due to a multitude of New Romantic releases that were being released with such regularity. How many records from that time stand up as well as this masterpiece does today?
Watching Two shows that Lou performed at this time, I remember he appeared very happy in himself and with his band. I was disappointed that he only played the Bells, at the end of the performance. But it was amusing to see him singing perfect day in a heavy Brooklyn Accent, and concluding each song he performed in a sheet of noise similar to the Bells. Just Look at the front cover. Who says Lou hasn't got a sense of humour.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
The 3 tracks All Through The Night, Families and The Bells are enough to make this a must-have. The first describes an all-night drunken party or pub crawl in stunning observations with trenchant imagery over a propulsive rhythm and a backdrop of bar crowd sounds. 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 natal" depression that follows the completion of a novel or an album, plus various other types of Weltschmerz.

Families is autobiographical and moving, with a line or two imploring his dad to let his sister manage the family business. The sound is dominated by electric guitars and guitar- and bass guitar synthesizers and the mood is mournful. The Bells itself is a breathtaking, majestic experience, something Reed has never done before or since. Hard to describe, perhaps it is his exploration of what Bowie did on Low in those atmospheric 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 to create an eerie mood. The instrumenation builds up slowly while the vocals become audible and at its height, Reed repeats the line Here Come The Bells in a dramatic 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 work, but the aforementioned three exceptional songs merit the four stars. All Through The Night is a brilliant rock song with a lilting rhythm, Families is a slow, brooding piece whilst the title track is Reed at his experimental best. I recommend the album for all devoted fans, but not for newcomers to the world of Lou Reed.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 26 October 2010
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. If looked at like that, fine: it was made to be skipped. Then there's 'The Bells', a piece of avant garde Reed that works if you believe him in that role. Not for me.

"The Bells" may take you by surprise and may take a little getting used to, but pay no heed to those who say it ain't quality material. It is lightyears ahead of Sally Can't Dance, Rock'n'Roll Heart, and Mistrial, which in spite of a few glimmering moments here or there, don't have enough strong songs to make up a whole album between them. "The Bells" is a bona fide Lou Reed rock album (all jazzed up).

So,here is one of his last great collections before he got all serious on us. With a group of superlative players (I mean Don Cherry & Marty Fogel, c'mon!) that add depth and bring multifarious shades of darkness to the songs, "The Bells" needs a relaunching with live tracks. Wish he had done another one like it...but then he sobered up.
33 Comments|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 February 2000
I remember buying this record when it first came it, and being both appaled and thrilled. Appalled at the diabolical Disco Mystic and I Wanna Boogie With You and thrilled with the title track - indeed all of the second side. Lou Reed's lyrics on most of the songs are interesting and entertaining in a story-telling fashion that no-one manages better, and even his singing shows emotion that many critics said the man did not possess. This is a CD very much worth buying, especially if you programme your CD player to skip Tracks 2 and 3. Now I am looking forward to Lou's 2000 project, ECSTACY...
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 March 2014
Another good cd bye the late LOU REED and if you enjoy his music you should get this one .
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 January 2003
After making some of the best albums of the 70's (with the execption of David Bowie ones that is) Lou Reed does the same again here. His raw NYC accent is hard to understand in parts especially to a Rule Brittania like me but the music really rocks. The highlights are the opener Stupid Man, Disco Mystic and the title track The Bells. But the real winner here is City Lights which is perhaps Reed's sweetest tune since Perfect Day. Buy the album, play at 3/4 volume, sit back and soak it up. I promise you will enjoy.
33 Comments| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse


Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)