Sunday, October 27, 2013

AND I GUESS THAT I JUST DON'T KNOW:  How can you sum up Lou Reed's musical legacy? Brian Eno, of course, said it best almost thirty years ago: "I was talking to Lou Reed the other day and he said that the first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 in the first five years. I think everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band."

So maybe what we're supposed to do today is listen to any of the bands which are the legacy of Reed and the Velvet Underground -- Talking Heads, Sonic Youth, Ministry, anything punk or industrial, any band that wanted to louder, darker, and/or more literate than the rest. Or just listen to Reed himself. New York and Songs for Drella have both been in my rotation regularly the past six months, thinking about Pedro fly, flying away from the dirty boulevard, once and for all. But that's Reed at his most conventional. "Heroin," on the other hand? The drums, alone ... can't describe. Brilliance. What a loss.


  1. Adam C.11:04 AM

    I suspect I'll be listening to a lot from VU and the "New York" and "Magic and Loss" albums over the next few days, and I'll search out old-but-new-to-me material that I always said I'll get to but never did. It's almost cliched to talk about Reed's (and VU's) influence, so I won't -- I'll just say that his music and lyrics have spoken to me a lot over the years, in different ways as I've gotten older, and I hope that I continue to find new things in the works he has left us.

  2. Adam C.12:54 PM

    Also, this Lou story from Allan Arkush (which I found through @carynrose on Twitter):

  3. Fred App2:31 PM

    The lyrics on "Magic and Loss" would seem to have particular poignancy in this context.

  4. Adam B.3:02 PM

    Klosterman's good today. Re VU & Nico:

    You wonder how something this old could feel so in step with everything that's happened in popular culture over the past 46 years, yet still manages to strike the audience as perverse and unorthodox and consumed with self-aware otherness. It makes no sense: Something that sounds this modern should also feel familiar; something that feels this weird should also sound like it belongs to a different age. But it doesn't sound rote and it doesn't sound anachronistic. It is, in all likelihood, the most irrefutably timeless rock music anyone has ever made — not necessarily the best, but the most aesthetically durable. The smartest, all things considered. "Heroin" wasn't the first song ever written about heroin, but it was the first song about heroin that was titled "Heroin." It was not a metaphor to unpack. It arrived unpacked. You just had to deal with it. And because Lou Reed was the man who wrote it, you just had to deal with him, too.