279. Lou Reed - Berlin (1973)
2. Lady Day
3. Men Of Good Fortune
4. Caroline Says
5. How Do You Think It Feels
6. Oh Jim
7. Caroline Says (2)
9. Bed Listen
10. Sad Song
From the first strains of the first song you know this is not going to be another Transformer. This is not a bad thing, however, and it shows an artist who is capable of reinventing himself into something completely different from either his other solo work or VU. Actually the most similar album to this on Reed's repertoire is Magic and Loss which is a much inferior effort musically.
Berlin is at the same time a grandiose and intimate album, it is grandiose in many of its arrangements, but intimate in its subject. The album tells the story of an abusive relationship which eventually leads to the suicide of one of the parties. Yes, it is a legendary depressing album, but also a great one.
Not one song here is below the level of sublime even if not all of them are contributing to the main "plot" in a very clear way. Actually I am quite sad I won't be able to see Lou Reed later this month because I need the money to move house. He is doing the Berlin album in Manchester on the 29th... Oh well.
This has been a really great sequence of albums lately. This is the last album by Lou Reed on the list, but it is a more than worthy one. Listen to this, it will depress you but it is more than worth it. Get it from Amazon UK or US.
1. Caroline Says II
3. Lady Day
4. Men of Good Fortune
"The Kids" tells of a "miserable rotten slut" having her children taken from her by the authorities, and contains a particularly upsetting mid-section featuring the sounds of children shouting for their mother. This segment is so harrowing that a legend has arisen telling how producer Bob Ezrin went home one night and told his children that their mother had (in different versions) either left them or died, and recorded their response. Later, Ezrin dispelled this myth, stating that he had just asked them to cry for the recorder, and that his younger child got carried away with the game. In actuality, Joshua Ezrin, Ezrin's youngest son, was locked out of the recording studio by his mother Arlene Sarner, and while he was pleading to be let back inside, his cries were recorded and put on the album. The Waterboys take their name from a line in this song.
Another myth arising from the record is that, upon completion of the record, Ezrin was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown. Instead, Ezrin later revealed, he had become addicted to heroin and required detoxification.
Lou Reed and John Cale perform Berlin, an earlier version of the song from 1972: