Lou Reed's Ecstasy marks the return to form for the venerable rocker, who has existed in the business for over 35 years. Ecstasy is peppered with moments of musical virtuosity and most of the songs on the album are very good indeed; however, there are long periods of dull repetition that restrict the album from ever achieving brilliant status. Ultimately though, Reed combines guitar (and guitar feedback) driven rock and his signature detached vocals, with horn sections and an electric violin that make a large percentage of Ecstasy exactly that: musical ecstasy.
The album opens with the groovy 'Paranoia Key of E', which combines horns with electric guitar. It kicks off the album very well, and Reed immediately seems to be in his groove. The album's eponymous number is perhaps the best out of the entire 77-minute selection: it's mellow, funky guitar-driven verse elicits an emotional response from the listener, which is heightened by the onset of the chorus: Reed sings "ecstasy" against a soft bed of electric violin, so elegant in its simplicity it carries the listener away.
There are no other moments of pure brilliance like Ecstasy (the song) on the album, but about eighty percent of it is excellent, involving and entertaining. 'Modern Dance', 'Tatters' and 'Turning Time Around' are, second to Ecstasy, the most noteworthy on the album. But all of the songs feature Lou Reed's unique vocals: almost spoken yet subtly melodic, strangely detached yet strangely connected -ultimately, musically paradoxical in their appeal.
Ecstasy is a great album with positives that far outweigh the negatives. The aforementioned four great songs alone make the album worth buying, due to their great rhythms, vocals and instrumental ensembles. Despite 'Like a Possum', the album is still really good and deserves a place in any rock and roll connoisseur's CD rack - it is, like the Wall of Sound said, "rock and roll for grown ups": intelligent, entertaining, thoughtful... its ecstasy.