Acclaimed Albums – New York by Lou Reed

List item: Listen to the 1000 Most Acclaimed Albums
Progress: 332/1000
Title: New York
Artist: Lou Reed
Year: 1989

The expansion of the music list meant the inclusion of two more Lou Reed albums, this solo album and another album with The Velvet Underground. Honestly, to see him here with an album from 1989 was a bit of a surprise to me as I figured he hit a high in the seventies and then, much like David Bowie, went on a critical decline to the point they became more known for their peak than their current body of work. Obviously Bowie came back in the 2010s, but you get the idea.

Well, turns out Lou Reed still had New York in him which really does not feel like an album you would see getting massive acclaim in 1989. Ignoring the lyrics for now, New York is a very simple type of rock album. It’s not unlike something you would expect to see Bob Dylan release in the early 1970s, but with someone who can sing well and it sometimes breaks into a more hard rock mode. In one way it makes it both a bit timeless as well as, for the time, a bit of a throwback.

The music itself is purposely simple as, again like Dylan, New York is meant to be all about the lyrics. I mean, it’s like Lou Reed went back to what worked with Transformer except now he is older and angrier. The fact that a 1989 Donald Trump is mentioned as part of the lyrical venting shows how things change slower than you’d like, although in the case of New York, it’s a good thing as it’s Lou Reed building on what was good about his earlier music.

Again, there is so much in here that is still relatable to where things are now. At the moment of writing this, America is beginning to boil over after more police shootings have occurred and rather than AIDS we are still being ravaged by Covid-19 with some countries like India faring worse than others. Guess that’s how this can still strike a chord 32 years later.


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