8 November 2013

8th November - Lou Reed's Transformer

Artist – Album: Lou Reed - Transformer
Released: 8th November 1972
Sounds Like: Think outside the box

Pigeonholing – and I’m referring to the act of assigning something to a particular (usually restrictive) category, rather than the urban dictionary definition – is a sin that is difficult to resist in music. See someone in the street with black hair, black lips and black cloths, dark eyeliner and dark fingernail polish, and you’re likely to assume they listen to goth music (Wrong! They’re big fans of the Cheeky Girls).  Some artists are forever burdened with their earlier sounds: hence The Clash are still punks in the minds of some and The Charlatans (that’s The Charlatans UK if you’re from America) are forever dismissed as a poor man’s Stone Roses. And then there are those artists who are associated with a scene just because everyone else was doing it at the time – Radiohead aren’t Britpop, Melvins aren’t Grunge and Blink-182 were never Emo.

Similarly, Lou Reed may have dipped his toes into the pool of glam rock with Transformer, but he was no Marc Bolan. As typical of the time as ‘I’m So Free’ and ‘Vicious’ were, a fair portion of the tracks here (‘New York Telephone Conversation’ and ‘Goodnight Ladies’) seem to be performed by some sort of strange New York oompah band. Even the three best known tracks – ‘Perfect Day’, ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ and ‘Satellite of Love’ – are hard to categorise. ‘Andy’s Chest’, meanwhile, was recorded by Reed’s old band The Velvet Underground three years previously, and as such has the imminently unclassifiable sound of the majority of their output.

At the end of the day, there’s no need to pigeonhole (that is, neither limiting labelling nor the urban dictionary way). All that you really need to know is that this is another great album from the great man.

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Vicious – 2:55
2.       Andy’s Chest – 3:17
3.       Perfect Day – 3:43
4.       Hangin’ Round – 3:39
5.       Walk on the Wild Side – 4:12
6.       Make Up – 2:58
7.       Satellite of Love – 3:40
8.       Wagon Wheel – 3:19
9.       New York Telephone Conversation – 1:31
10.   I’m So Free – 3:07
11.   Goodnight Ladies – 4:19

Listen to ‘Satellite of Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH2EgYq_NCY
Also released on the 8th November:
1971: Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

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