Album #279 – Berlin

Album #279

A few days ago, I blogged about an album on the list by Velvet Underground member John Cale. Today, I blog about another member, Lou Reed. Berlin is Reed’s third album and the follow up to Transformer (which is also on the list). This album was a surprise to me. I thought it was going to be very experimental and “weird”, but it turned out to be a beautiful rock opera. I loved almost every minute of it and it was an enjoying listen. This album was different for Reed because he did not play many instruments on it and he used session musicians. The album was produced by a Canadian, Bob Ezrin, who has produced dozens of rock greats from Alice Cooper to Pink Floyd. Also included on this album were Ezrin collaborators, (fellow Canadian) Gene Martynec and Steve Hunter, along with a who’s who of great musicians: Jack Bruce, Tony Levin, Steve Winwood, Aynsley Dunbar and last but certainly not least: Michael and Randy Brecker. Parts of this album reminded me of Ezrin’s work with Alice Cooper and the anthemic quality Cooper’s songs are famous for. Even the concept of this album is one only Lou Reed could pull off: a husband and wife pulled apart by drug use and depression. No one song on the album demonstrates this more than “The Kids”. Midway through the song are cries of young children screaming for their mother to not leave them. She is being pushed away because of her drug use. This adds an emotional context that could not be delivered in just the songs. I find it odd that Rolling Stone gave this album bad reviews when it was released. To me, it is Reed’s shining moment. He has never made an album better or equal to Berlin. And, it’s better than MOST of Transformer. Overall, I give this album 5 out of 5.

Next: Selling England By The Pound by Genesis

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