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Lou Reed: Caught Between the Twisted Stars Exhibition At The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center Witnessed

New York cube

New York wasn’t Lou Reed’s greatest work because, unlike Metal Machine Music, Berlin, or the very underrated Lulu, it hasn’t aged very well thematically: for all its incredible sounds and Mike Rathke’s guitar, instead of reading like history or like polemic, in 2022 it reads like yesterday’s papers: for all the horrors of the Reagan years, it is kid’s stuff compared to Trump. A masterpiece of course, but not the masterpiece it was.


The inverse is true of Metal Machine Music, sound modulations and frequency certainly shouldn’t have freaked the world out in 1975, I mean we’d all heard Philip Glass and Yoko and John’s musical extremism, like Eno’s ambient sounds put through a meat grinder, or Nine Inch Nails with the songs removed. But it sure did. RCA were forced to put a disclaimer on it and while we all admire (kinda hard to love it) today, Lester Bangs loved it in 1975 (“If you ever thought feedback was the best thing that ever happened to the guitar, well, Lou just got rid of the guitars”)

Lou’s Albums

I am a huge Lou Reed fan and had every intention of of going to the exhibition of Lou’s personal archives presented At The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center “Caught Between the Twisted Stars” Exhibition though I only got around to it last Saturday (you can see it through March 23rd, 2023 here). It is a magnificent thing as far as it goes, taking you from his High School Yearbook to Lulu.

High School Confidential

It reinforces the great artists theory as claimed by Malcolm Gladwell, viz that in order to paint like Picasso you must be a great artist who knows how to paint inside and out before you can play with form. Lou knew doo wop, like Elton John, he used to perform on those chart hits albums (superseded by the “by original artists”), High School bands until when he was ready for the Velvet Underground, he was ready for the Velvet Underground.

But before we go further, here is a very quick dash through his entire albums (more or less)

Andy Warhol Art Form

And so… just for the sake of ease and without trying to be all inclusive (no compilations, no live albums…)

Lou Reed With the Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground & Nico – A

White Light/White Heat – A

Loaded – A+

The Velvet Underground – B

Lou Reed solo

Lou Reed – A

Transformer – A+

Berlin – A

Sally Can’t Dance – A-

Metal Machine Music – A

Rock And Roll Heart – A-

Street Hassle – B+

The Bells – A-

The Bells – B+

The Blue Mask – A-

Legendary Hearts – A

New Sensations – A

Mistrial – B+

New York – A+ (I meant not a masterpiece unless you’re me)

Songs For Drella – B-

Magic And Loss – B

Set the Twilight Reeling – A

Ecstasy – A

The Raven – B

Lulu – A (yes, I loved it here and Pitchfork gave it a 1/10… )

So, that’s it from me, enjoy the pictures… in no order at all and the only explanation on the caption…

Doc Pomus, Hal Wilmer
New York 1989 Tour
Lou And Laurie Anderson
Take No Prisoners
Lou’s Prescription Glasses
Ecstasy Tour
Letter from Paul McCartney
Meet The Press
Check out The Shades
Public Relations
Liner Notes
Legendary Hearts
Legendary Hearts Artwork
An American Master

Article For The New Yorker
I am sure the weather didn’t help
New Sensations Tour
Lou And Drella
Mick Rock pix
Work of fiction
VU are back
at the Supper Club
more Drella
demos 1971
Rock And Roll Heart
Rock And Roll Heart Stacked Televisions
Vaclav Havel Book Signed
Lou And Vaclav
POTUS 1998
Lou and Jim Carroll
POTUS Pictures
New York Corrections
VV On Tape
The Supper Club 1997
Sylvia Plath
Tim Buckley
At The Beacon

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