The two very different paths that Lou Reed traversed after his comeback The Blue Mask are reissued and remastered. Lou Reed's run of earlys solo albums hit longtime fans with the force of revelation: Finally, after suffering through umpteen aesthetically schizo 70s albums, Reed had assembled his most consistent and adventurous band since the Velvets.
But 30 years on, it's hard to hear The Blue Mask as sonically assaultive so much as brutally personal , in a way that's got less to do with guitar dissonance than Reed's fearless self-laceration. Not since "Heroin" had Reed written a song as harrowing as "The Blue Mask", where the lyrics have the hideous specificity of a newly sober man unleashing a lot of backed-up self-examination. It's playful without being indulgent, the kind of record hardcore fans come to treasure because it proves that even their hero's second-tier efforts, the ones that get passed over when they're not starred in the record guides, can hide secret charms.
What impresses 27 years on is Reed's range: "Don't Talk to Me About Work" is a nasty little one-note jab at 9-to-5 drudgery, akin to the gags that littered early Replacements albums albeit way more literate, as you'd expect. But it's followed by "Make Up Mind", a ballad as tender as anything on The Velvet Underground , Reed and Quine feeding each other little bursts and swells of melody as the bass and drums keep heartbeat time. That range sometimes gets him into trouble, however.
Reed's voice-- an instrument suited to, well, Lou Reed songs and very little else-- remains the most divisive component of his music.
New listeners, or those not already charmed by his penchant for stretching his monotone sing-song via dramatic hops down an octave or two, may cringe a bit at the ultra-mannered emoting on "Betrayed". But by , Reed had mastered the conversational style that starts with "I'm Waiting for the Man". Energetic Happy Hypnotic. Romantic Sad Sentimental. Sexy Trippy All Moods. Drinking Hanging Out In Love.
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