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4.5 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 11 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • ASIN: B00000637V
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,083 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Berlin
2. Lady Day
3. Men Of Good Fortune
4. Caroline Says I
5. How Do You Think It Feels
6. Oh Jim
7. Caroline Says II
8. The Kids
9. The Bed
10. Sad Song

Product Description

Product Description

Lou went for Baroque on his third solo album, singing about such light subjects as suicide and drug abuse over grandiose Bob Ezrin production. 10-tracks. Sony.


Eternally perverse, Reed responded to having a pop hit with Transformer by making a massive bummer of an album, built around reworked versions of a couple of older songs. Berlin is psychologically grueling and unremittingly dark (scariest moment: "The Kids," which ends with a very long tape of children screaming in terror), but the savage contrasts of its sound have gotten more impressive with time. The big production flourishes hit like a hangover, Reed's voice sounds like he's trying to stave off emotional involvement with his lyrics because it would hurt too much, and the multi-layered textures of "Oh Jim" surge and recede like details of a nightmare. The album takes strength to hear, and rewards it. --Douglas Wolk

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
When "Berlin" was first released I HAD TO HAVE IT ... prior to "Berlin" my collection of Lou Reed was simply a couple of Velvet Underground LPs in import editions ... they weren't released locally in Sydney ... his eponymous solo album "Lou Reed" and of course "Transformer". Then came "Berlin" ... and it blew me away ... and I played it and played it and played it ... and still do only now on CD. It's a bleak and wonderful album. Sparse production, minimal arrangements over lush orchestration and above all Lou Reed's completely dispassionate voice relating the decay, breakdown and aftermath of a relationship ... His? Someone else's? Who knows ... listen to the little kid's voice in "The Kids" yelling over and over "Mummy ... Mummy" and by the time "Sad Song" unravels it's wings like a butterfly emerging from the catharsis of the cocoon of songs preceding it you know you've just listened to a piece of modern literature and not a pop album. "Limp Dick"? Well, I recall at the time of "Berlin"'s release one of the many negative reviews I read, and there were quite a few, referred to the album in quite disparaging terms and noted Bob Ezrin's "limp dick" production; a phrase I've remembered and used many times since to describe critic's reviews. I'm glad time, and the many reviews of listeners here on Amazon who love music and care about it, have vindicated Lou's vision. Not that I imagine he'd care. I think Lou Reed knows who he is and his faith in his own work and its validity is just as strong today as it was then ...
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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Format: Audio CD
"Berlin" is an unflinching look inti the darkest corners of the human soul/psyche. Over stunning orchestration and stellar production (by Bob Ezrin, who is for some reason more famous for producing "The Wall" than "Berlin") Lou Reed, the voice of cool neutrality, submits for our approval (or rejection, i somehow think it's all the same to Lou, and that our feelings and opinions matter not) the starkly delineated tale of two expatriate speedfreaks living in Berlin, and how they torture each other in a spiritually bankrupt vacuum of tympanis and violins, ghost choruses of sick angels and science-fiction doowop, and how the torture of ownership as love and s/m junkiedom leads inexorably to death. In this case her suicide is of course a literal death, but as the male half of this diseased equation wraps himself in the bloody sheets of her deathbed and declares himself good because "somebody else would have broken both of her arms", then we are left with the sound of the death of a spirit, the wasting of a soul, a sad song indeed.
For your listening pleasure?
The "Citizen Kane" of rock and roll. It's that simple.
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Format: Audio CD
On the Velvet Underground albums and his first solo albums Lou Reed was an amazing songwriter. He was a witty lyricist and had a lot of melodic pop sensibility even in his weirdest songs. Then he obviously decided to become a serious rock artist. He lost his wit and pop sensibility and started writing unmelodic serious songs about serious matters. Berlin was a transitional album for him. The songs are mostly melodic but some of the lyrics are extremely serious. "Caroline Says II" is a good example of this: it's about a woman who is beaten by her husband. Of course it's important to talk about things like that but in rock lyrics it simply doesn't work. Reed obviously tries to make the song slightly more poetic with the words "she's not afraid to die" but aren't those words a bit of a cliche? "The Bed" has the best lyrics on the album. Though it's about somebody cutting her wrists, it has that good old wit.
Musically the album is a lot better. The best song is "Sad Song" which was originally meant to be on a Velvet Underground album (the original song is on the 2cd version of the album Loaded) It's a huge rock anthem which you probably don't like if you're afraid of bombast. Its lyrics are quite dark and wonderful.
What really makes Berlin a great album is Bob Ezrin's production. He uses big orchestra sounds with a lot of nuances. The most wonderful moment on the album is after "The Bed" when there's first some strange noise and then the flute starts playing the intro of "Sad Song".
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