Make no mistake - Berlin is by far the most depressing and disturbing album Lou Reed ever made. These 10 profound songs create such destructive waves of melancholy and sadness that I'm amazed Lou weathered (survived?) this period in his life and went on to make such joyful and personal gems as New Sensations and New York several years down the road. From the disorienting prologue of the album's title song to the curiously anthemic Sad Song that closes this dark journey, Berlin draws you into seedy flats inhabited by addicts, masochists, abused and suicidal women, and an unrelenting procession of other tenderly-drawn tragic characters. (Readers of William Burroughs, Nelson Algren, and Jack Kerouac should especially "enjoy" this album.)
So why the 5 stars? Music that can conjure a mood, a time, and a place as strongly as Berlin does deserves our attention and our admiration - Lou's characters let us into their lives, let us feel their suffering, and let us identify and understand our own similar feelings, amazingly all from the comfort of our living room couch.