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4.5 stars - Lou's most popular solo album
on June 16, 2004
Transformer (1972.) Lou Reed's second solo album.
Following the disbandment of the Velvet Underground, frontman Lou Reed started a solo career. Although his self-titled 1972 solo debut didn't really add anything special to his name, it was still an excellent album, even if many people overlooked and/or bash it needlessly. Later in 1972, Reed began recording his second solo album, Transformer. And with the glam rock uprising, who better to produce the album than the king of glam rock himself, David Bowie, along with his guitarist Mick Ronson? Before 1972 came to a close, Transformer hit stores. How does it measure up? Read on and find out!
This is Lou Reed's most popular album, period. And the reason it has earned that reputation is due to a single song - but it's a damn good song. Walk On The Wild Side, Reed's ode to drag queens, is one of the finest songs ever recorded that managed to crack the top twenty on the charts. But, as with any artist, there is more to Reed than just the hits. As the album progresses, Reed serves up a variety of songs - no two of them sound exactly alike. David Bowie produced this album, and you can see his influence in many a place on here - he even does some backing vocals! It's also interesting to note that one of the bass players on this album is none other than Klaus Voorman. Voorman is best known for playing bass on several of the former Beatles' solo albums, as well as for drawing the Beatles Revolver album cover. Through and through, Transformer is an excellent album, but it starts to weaken as it draws to a close. Many of the songs featured near the end of the album sound too much like David Bowie circa 1967, and if you've listened to David Bowie's self-titled solo debut album from that year, you know that that's not really a good thing. Fortunately though, there are more than enough saving graces to make this one of Lou Reed's finest efforts. Four and a half (out of five) stars.
In 2002, this album got a serious revamp in the United States. The sound quality was remastered, the liner notes were expanded, and two bonus tracks were added! The bonus tracks featured here are acoustic demo versions of two of the songs. If you're a big Lou Reed fan, you're bound to get a real kick out of these bonuses. Likewise, the lengthy text in the liner notes will be of interest to you, whether you're a Lou Reed die-hard, or this album is your first introduction to his music. All in all, a good reissue.
Transformer is Lou Reed's most popular album, and while not necessarily his best (contrary to popular belief), it is nothing short of excellent. If you're new to the musical stylings of Lou Reed, this album would make an excellent first purchase from his catalogue. There's a reason this album is so popular - it flat out rules.