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Area Resident’s Classic Album Review: Lou Reed | The Raven

Lou's star-studded tribute to the horror icon is more for Poe fans than Reed ones.

I have always considered myself a Lou Reed fan — but maybe I’m not. Or at least not an indiscriminate one — especially when it comes to his solo output. After leaving The Velvet Underground, the late legend made 20 studio albums as a solo artist, along with two more collaborations. Of those albums, I was only familiar with five. So I decided to listen to and review the remaining 15. At times it was like torture.

In a nutshell, Reed has a big basket of bonafide classics. Unique, unmistakable and ground-breaking songs which combine poetry and prose with a variety of music styles. But he also recorded a fly-ridden heap of awful, awful songs featuring his distinctive but poor singing, along with excessive sax and fretless bass.

Here’s one of the entries in his uneven catalog:


Here we have our hero working with a big cast of actors and musicians on a suite of songs inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe — including a full recitation of The Raven. This 2003 album is more for Poe fans than Lou Reed fans.

Guests include Laurie Anderson, Ornette Coleman, David Bowie, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Kate and Anna McGarrigle, Steve Buscemi and Willem Dafoe. It contains an unlistenable cover of Lou’s Perfect Day from Transformer, with vocals by Anohni Hegarty. There’s also a cover of The Bed from Berlin. But I quite like that one.

Mostly, this album ain’t for me, but I dig the opener Edgar Allan, which rocks, as well as the banger instrumental A Thousand Departed Friends.



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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.