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Lou Reed - Transformer Click here to see this CD at!

By Jerry McCulley

This sophomore release by the Velvet Underground cofounder has long been hailed as one of the key touchstones of the punk and alternative eras that followed it. Reinforcing the literary adage to "write what you know," Reed paints an alternately detached/debauched portrait of the drag-and-drugs-infused underground of Warhol's New York, a place, time, and mindset so compelling it has largely overshadowed the rest of the singer-songwriter's mercurial career. That the album would also give Reed an unlikely Top 20 pop hit via the teasing, twisted sexuality of "Walk on the Wild Side" is but one of its deep, rewarding ironies. Indeed, as produced by David Bowie and guitarist and cohort Mick Ronson at the height of their own Ziggy Stardust fame, Reed's songs are cast in a seductive cabaret setting that's more Jacques Brel than Lower East Side. This 30th-anniversary edition features two unreleased acoustic demos ("Hangin' 'Round," "Perfect Day"), a vintage radio spot by announcer and word-jazz cult fave Ken Nordine, and a new illustrated booklet and perceptive essay by Michael Hill.

By Dan Leone

Transformer, Lou Reed's second post-Velvet Underground album, was produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson (Bowie's guitarist) in 1972. It features such classics as "Vicious" and "Walk on the Wild Side," as well as a boppin', subdued version of "Andy's Chest," which the Velvet Underground had already recorded. The CD's consistently goofy and great back-up vocals are courtesy of Bowie and Ronson. Brace yourself for Lou's usual cast of characters: transvestites, junkies, weirdoes, Holly, Candy, Little Joe, Sugar, Jacki--even Harry, Mark, and John, who stop by to say hi in the middle of "Satellite of Love." "Goodnight Ladies" features a rockin' tuba downbeat, and a baritone sax that'll wail you away to la-la land. Other than that, it's Reed's raw guitar and rah-rah lyrics, like, "The tinsel light of starbreak/Is all that's left to applaud my heartbreak/And at 11 o'clock I watch the network news."

1. Vicious8. Wagon Wheel
2. Andy's Chest9. New York Telephone Conversation
3. Perfect Day10. I'm So Free
4. Hangin' 'Round11. Goodnight Ladies
5. Walk on the Wild Side12. Hangin' 'Round [Acoustic Demo] [#] [*]
6. Make Up13. Perfect Day [Acoustic Demo] [#] [*]
7. Satellite of Love


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Artist: Lou Reed

Released: February 17, 1972

Availability: CD, Vinyl


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