Friday, January 28, 2005


It's a Hell of a Town

by Glenn Cripes

'A return to form' is a term that is applied often in reviews of records like New York by Lou Reed.

'A return to form' is usually short for 'not as much of a piece of shit as his last record'. His previous record Mistrial could rightly be known as Lou's worst regular non-concept LP. New Sensations which came before was a great piece of work. Lou was funny and engaging. With New York Lou takes on the mantle of social criticism. Lou looking at life with opera glasses from the balcony.

Hey, this New York...crazy, man, crazy!

The first cut Romeo Had Juliet is harmless enough, I suppose....just a Springsteen West Side Story by way of Lou parable. The problems start with the next song, Halloween Parade, where he contemplates the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic. Lou used to hit the mark back when he was writing about needles and butt sex--stuff he knew, but here's Lou pretending to be sad, when he's really smirking that he's still alive to the tune of Andy's Chest. Last Great American Whale...I'm not sure what he's on about here. Environmentalism? Dom Deluise? Next up we have Beginning of a Great Adventure where Louis contemplates being a father. Please, please tell me that this idea never got past the planning stages. This is a guy who has been 86'ed from all the kinky sex clubs in NYC. I'm hoping Lou was an only child...heaven help the kid who has an 'Uncle Lou'.

What's this on side 2? Why it's Lou informing us we need a Busload of Faith to get by. Thanks a lot Reverend Lou. In Good Evening Mr. Waldheim Lou admirably takes on the likes of Jesse Jackson. I saw Lou on the New York tour which showcased this record and he left this song off the setlist. Chickenshit. Not that it's a great song or anything, but Lou once again failed to walk the walk.

I would be remiss in my reviewing duties if I left out Dirty Blvd.. This is Lou doing it right. Great riffs and funny lyrics. Quite possibly his last really good song.

Lou is at his best when he's writing from within the belly of the beast. When he's telling some guy to drag his girlfriend who ODed out into the street and leave her there, or when he's celebrating an ex girlfriend losing her kids.

I gotta put a fork in it--see you next week.

Hey Glenn,

Do you have your Jonathan Richman super 8 from Berkeley, 1981 anywhere online? Would love to take a look at it one more time.


Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?