You really have to wonder with his lifestyle being so much a part of his music how Lou Reed managed to survive to this day. Heroin,electroshock therapy,trashy celebrity intrigue and most of all transexual imagry have always been a part of his whole persona as much as it had been during his Velvet Underground days-whether it be staged "living art" or genuine. As always the one thing you'll find about Lous is that his melodies and musicianship is as bright and professional as it is rebellious and attituded. Obviously Transformer worked very much in his favor in many ways so needless to say he's checking what he liked about that,what he liked about Berlin and basically elected to combine them into it's own album. Because of the fact the songs on this album have such musical accessability some say it was a bit of a sell out but there's no question;he's still Lou Reed and his whirlwind of often disturbing lyrical imagry is very much intact. "Ride Sally Ride","Stars" and "Ennui" all manage to be very boignant sounding,driven driven caberet rock style balladry all again and maintain that high production quality as well along with the heavy use of sax throughout all the songs and appearances by David Bowie,Steve Winwood and many others. The facts of the matter are that this album is a little more heavy on the production actually but in a different way then you might suspect. Very much as the Rolling Stones were doing during this period Lou Reed was discovering how to bring the sounds of R&B/funk into his music which was already jazz inflected because of that caberet influence so the rock 'n soul kind of sound beefing up cuts like "Animal Language","Baby Face","Stars",the bonus track "Good Taste" and even the rockier "Kill Your Sons" does add the right kick for that sort of thing. The title song is really driving funk as a matter of fact-a single version presented here interestingly enough cuts out many of the heavy sex and drug references of the album version. This is not surprising considering how heavily censored "Walk On The Wild Side" had been when that came out. "Billy" is one of Lou's more tender songs as a solo artist as he examines two schoolyard charms who grow up,take vastly different directions and ironically the character of Billy-thought to be the more ambitious of the two goes to Vietnam and returns messed up in the head. The message we're left with his who got the better deal in life and we're....as Lou often does left at an unresolved stalemate. This album isn't as recognized as many of Lou Reed's mid 70's solo albums and perhaps some of that has to do with the fact it's often thought to be something reaching all too intentionally for commercialism:it isn't. It's just a great funk rock style album with a lot of glam flavors that,despite it's darker imagry sat very well with other funk/glam projects by Bowie,T Rex and even the Stones during this period.