9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
High point of Lou Reed's long career,
This review is from: Ecstasy (U.S. Version) (Audio CD)
Lou Reed has had an uneven career overall. Needless to say, it certainly started with a big bang (The Velvet Underground) and there is not dud in the bunch.
His solo career is another matter however. While mostly on the positive side of the fence, there have been disappointing knock-offs wherein it is obvious that Mr. Reed did not put much effort into the projects or where it just didn't work for whatever reason. Some releases that come to mind is his first self-titled solo album and Sally Can't Dance (wherein Lou Reed himself admitted that he wasn't really there; just adding the vocals to previously recorded instrumental tracks). Later misfires include Mistrial and Set The Twilight Reeling.
Then there were the misunderstood albums; specifically, Metal Machine Music, and more recently, Hudson River Wind Meditations. These are actually excellent, experimental works that many who wanted to hear the Rock 'N Roll Animal over and over again just don't get. The Raven may or may not fall into this catagory. It's either a great album or a pretentious effort to add to his already secured legacy. You decide.
Finally, the masterpieces, of which there are plenty. To name a few: Coney Island Baby, Street Hassle, The Blue Mask, New York, and Ecstasy, the summit of Lou Reed's long career. As was the case with all his great albums that have gone before, Mr. Reed is in fine form on this greatest of all releases, bringing to the recording studio his ability to write lyrics that are really true poetry, backed with the distinctive Lou Reed sound that only he can create.
Virtually all of the songs feature Mr. Reed's best lyrics to date, with Rock Minuet standing out as one of the most intense listening experiences of all time. No one else in the musical industry could have pulled this off. It's Lou Reed's territory alone.
Some may complain of the length of Possum Day, while not getting the significance of a very long, somewhat repetitive track that harkens back to his roots with The Velvet Underground (i.e.: Sister Ray). Indeed, to have such a long song for the first time since the Arista years was more than welcomed.
Musically, this is one of the strongest releases as well. It features that distinctive Lou Reed sound that only seems to occur every five years or so these days. Certainly in the league with VU records and the other masterpieces mentioned above. The songs are well-crafted and the playing is as good as it gets.
Overall, lyrically and musically, this is Lou Reed's best album to date. So good in fact, that it may never be equaled again. Ecstasy is to be recommended to both long-standing fans as well as to newcomers as it is so good, it will certainly have them coming back for more.
In summary, I realize nobody is reading this review in that it is being written 7 years after its original release. At this point, either you own Ecstacy or you don't and never will. But let's get the record straight: despite the numerous duds, overall Lou Reed was, is and will be a greater influence on rock and roll than any other artist. The likes of Madonna and Britney Spears at best will be footnotes in some future music history books, while Lou Reed will get his own chapter.