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The Blue Mask - A Rather Patchy Affair,
This review is from: The Blue Mask (Audio CD)
For all the praise heaped on The Blue Mask at its time of release and in the years that have followed it's actually a very patchy affair.
In many ways The Blue Mask was the dawn of a new era for Lou. Lou had cleaned up his act with regard to his habits, he was newly married and was prepared to focus on his music by stripping it of its excesses (its larger sound). Lou went back to basics and even much of his lyric writing was being refined to be more socially friendly. He had a hot new band and re-introduced to prominence his own guitar playing. He had also switch record labels.
The Blue Mask in places represents those changes extremely well. The opening track 'My House' was a great start followed by 'Women' and later 'The Blue Mask' (the title track), 'Waves Of Fear' and 'Heavenly Arms'. All these tracks tend to get their message across with simplicity, cutting right to the core of Lou's talent.
Unfortunately much of the rest of the album is rather uninspiring.
'Average Guy', 'Underneath The Bottle' and 'The Day John Kennedy Died' are far below the standard of Lou's best work and at times these songs lyrics sound incredibly banal.
In The Blue Mask's favour though is the fact it's certainly a lot more accessible to listen to than Lou's two most recent albums The Bells and Growing Up In Public at the time (though not really better).
Don't believe the hype The Blue Mask is no Lou Reed classic but there's enough good songs to make it a worthwhile listening experience.