On this legendary album, Reed celebrates Andy Warhol and his 15-minute of fame stars in a variety of styles partly influenced by David Bowie. The new edition includes two extra tracks, acoustic versions of Hanging Round and Perfect Day. The informative insert includes illustrations and an essay on the history of Reed and the significance of this album.
Transformer is a type of decadent cabaret comparable to Bowie's Aladdin Sane, but less bleak, more colourful and life-affirming. Reed proved himself to be a master of many styles, from the compelling rock of Walk On The Wild Side through the tender and tuneful pop of Satellite Of Love to the dreamy Perfect Day, a haunting poetic excursion.
Other highlights include the edgy rocker Vicious with its hypnotic melody and sarcastic/ironic lyrics (an attitude that would soon infuse punk and new wave), the quirky New York Telephone Conversation, the energetic Hanging Round and the stately Goodnight Ladies. The songs are highly descriptive of a time, a place and a mindset whilst the music is powerful and elegant.
The stylistic variety renders Transformer compelling throughout while not detracting from the cohesion, making it a great piece of musical theatre. Devoted followers would agree that it does not reveal the complete Reed, as he has been so prolific and his oeuvre encompasses a much larger spectrum. But as a document of the middle seventies, it remains superb, an essential album for all serious rock fans.