Lou Reed – “Transformer”

As frontman of The Velvet Underground, Lou Reed became one of the most influential musicians of his generation. Reid pioneered a new sound that mixed avant-garde and experimental rock with proto-punk and noise rock flavors. Although the group was not commercially successful during their short period of existence, they became staples of the New York underground scene, associating themselves closely with Andy Warhol and his entourage.

However, after The Velvet Underground disbanded, Reid worked as a typist for his father and was no longer an icon of the movement he helped found. Although he released his first solo album in early 1972, it was poorly received by critics and Reid was left with a sense of creative punch. Fortunately, he made a deal with David Bowie, a fan of The Velvet Underground, who agreed to produce Reed’s next album with Mick Ronson. Transformer was released in November of that year and is now considered a cornerstone of the glam rock genre.

Influence of Bowie and Ronson sharing the seminal record The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars a few months earlier, clearly visible in Transformer. Yet Reed’s work is not just a cheap imitation of Bowie’s sound – after all, the British musician was very much inspired by the Velvet Underground. Instead, Reed mixes the nascent glam rock sound with echoes of The Velvet’s raw guitars, a whirlwind of strings, and his signature musings on New York misfits and outcasts.

The album opens with “Vicious”, which retains the edgy guitars of the Velvet Underground but sounds significantly more polished, as evidenced by soft backing vocals that add dynamic warmth to the track. It seems like a perfect amalgamation of Reed’s early work and his new glam rock direction, as well as lyrical cues from his old friend Warhol, who told the musician to include the humorous line “You hit me with a flower.”

In fact, the artist’s influence dominates throughout the album, as evidenced by the next track “Andy’s Chest”, which was written to cheer Warhol up after Valerie Solanis shot him. It’s a triumphant song full of tongue-in-cheek lyrics, but it’s quickly overshadowed by the splendor of “Perfect Day”, undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of music Reed has ever recorded. Starting with gentle piano notes, the musician perfects his vocal performance by simply discussing his ideal day with a loved one, which includes drinking sangria in the park, feeding the animals at the zoo, and watching a movie. Each chorus is a euphoric burst of passion heightened by the use of strings and keyboards, though Reid quickly underscores the joy with a hint of hesitation reflected in the lines: “It’s just a beautiful day, you made me forget myself / I thought I was someone else, someone good.”

Meanwhile, Reed’s biggest hit “Walk on the Wild Side” showcases his impeccable storytelling skills. He carries the enduring influence of characters he met at Warhol’s Factory, shedding light on transgender and gay artists who have rarely been the subject of mainstream media. The groundbreaking track remains an exciting piece of history, immortalizing important LGBTQ+ icons like Candy Darling in songs. The minimalist instrumental palette highlights Reed’s ability to captivate audiences with his rich voice and unconventional lyrics.

Reid continues to explore taboo topics on Transformer with “Make Up”, a tedious, slow-paced description of drag queens putting on makeup, with the musician singing “Now we’re coming out / Out of our closets, going outside”, suggesting that the subject is no longer afraid to hide who they really are. Reid’s constant desire to highlight underrepresented groups of people in his lyrics makes Transformer incredibly bold and inspiring album. At the time, such themes were seldom sung so boldly, but Reed explored them shamelessly.

“Satellite of Love” is another highlight of the track, in which Reed tries to take his mind off his lover’s infidelity by watching a TV show about space travel. Bowie’s backing vocals give the song an extra level of grandiosity, which is actually relatively simple, with more emphasis on Ronson’s keys. The penultimate track “I’m So Free” is another amazing composition that compensates for the children’s “New York Telephone Conversation”, perhaps the album’s weakest moment. On “I’m So Free,” powerful guitar riffs accompany “Ohh ohh” back vocals, making the track the perfect celebratory chant that remains criminally underappreciated.

The tape ends on a stern note as Reed mourns his lost love on “Goodnight Ladies” singing “You said we could be friends but that’s not what I want/Ah, anyway, my TV dinner is almost ready.” / It’s lonely.” Saturday night.” This is a beautifully executed track, propelled by luscious saxophones that envelop Transformer in bittersweet onions.

Reid first achieved mainstream success with Transformercapturing a snapshot of 70s New York with clarity and a sharp wit, proving that Reed has a knack for storytelling as well as an innovator in music making. Transformer contains many pieces of pure perfection, namely “Perfect Day” and “Satellite of Love”, making it an essential entry for every collection. Reed defined the era with his defiantly poetic lyrical explorations of taboo themes and bold combination of classical instruments with raw guitars that would influence generations of artists to come.

Content Source

California Press News – Latest News:
Los Angeles Local News || Bay Area Local News || California News || Lifestyle News || National news || Travel News || Health News

Related Articles

Back to top button