Quadrophenia is the sixth studio album by the English rock band the Who, released as a double album on 26 October 1973 by Track Records. It is the group's second rock opera. Set in London and Brighton in 1965, the story follows a young mod named Jimmy and his search for self-worth and
This show is surprisingly listenable given the era and circumstances in which it was recorded. And what a setlist! I can't decide if catching a mid-seventies set like this would be preferable to a full workout of Quadrophenia or Tommy. Alas, I wouldn't see The Who until the 1989 reunion tour, when they were already a shadow of the band that was captured this night, so recordings like this will have to do.
Lou Reed is the 'weird guy' of the Seventies, but there's really nothingparticularly weird about him. The problem is that since his work with theVelvet Underground he's been mistakenly categorized as a 'proto-punk idol'which isn't even a part of the whole truth, since it's simply wrong. Thefew punk elements that Lou really inserted in his compositions were usuallylimited to extensive use of feedback which you could call 'psychedelic'as well, and his lyrics. Essentially, Lou is just a singer-songwriter,and a bit more ambitious and definitely a bit more audacious than most.His "street philosophy" is far more tasteful and refined thanthat of, say, Bruce Springsteen (although the comparison isn't exactlyjustified due to Lou's never taking himself as a "working class hero"),and his intriguing brand of rock poetry makes him my second favourite singer-songwriterafter Dylan - even some of his worst albums are saved by the fact thathe never cheapened his lyrics unless it were an intentional hoax.
Listenability: 3/5. MetalMachine Music, anyone? Okay, that's just one album, but Lou's beentaking unwarranted risks too often.Resonance: 3/5. It floundersand floats very much from album to album.Originality: 3/5. More likea wagon-jumper than anything else, but his image is so unique anyway...Adequacy: 3/5. See "Listenability".Diversity: 5/5. He was willingto try anything at least once.Overall: 3.4 = Con the rating scale.
Lou Reed's first solo album is often carelessly overlooked in favorof Transformer, his much more well-known 1972 glam-rock 'masterpiece',but it's a shame, because this particular record is quite good. It's nota particularly great listening experience, of course. But it's one of thosequiet, stripped-down albums with a share of moderate, but carefully craftedrockers that turn out to be close to magnificent at close listen. If you'rea big Velvet Underground fan (more exactly, a big fan of the VU's earlyperiod - as far as I know, later VU albums were more close to Reed's soloefforts; unfortunately, I just haven't heard 'em), you're well advisedto stay away from this album - you won't find any of the wild, recklessexperimentation here, and you won't find no S&M lyrics or direct drugreferences either.
Lou Reed's glam rock album? It's not me who made that up - that's anopinion widely shared by critics, and they do bring up vital argumentsin favour of it. However, most of the 'glam' here turns out to be superficialat close look. Of course, it is no small coincidence that the album wasproduced by Lou in close collaboration with David Bowie and his guitaristMick Ronson (the latter also contributes a fair share of guitarwork andis even responsible for the strings arrangements). And the fact that thealbum is filled to the brim with themes of homosexualism, perversion, sexualbitches, etc., etc., etc., not to mention the album title and the albumcover, also contributes to the general delusion. One must not forget, though,that most of these lyrical topics were essential to Lou's creativity longbefore Bowie started getting draggy and the term 'glam rock' was even coined.And even if Bowie did leave a slight imprint of his personality on someof the songs, he was in no way such a patron and creative godfather toReed as he was for, say, Mott The Hoople. This is a real Lou Reed album- and it has as much to do with glam rock as, for instance, Peter Gabrieland Genesis: you could argue that Genesis were a glam band, but apart fromcertain theater elements in their show, there was not much of a glam influencein the band.
Isn't it ironic that Lou Reed's best-selling album was a live one? Andnot just a live one - an album packed to the brink with live versions ofold VU standarts. Apparently, this was the public's muffled expressionof what it really felt about Lou disbanding VU. Of course, it's soothingto see that Lou wasn't going to discard his past and saw no problem intaking his VU legacy on board. But the funny thing is, this doesn't soundlike the VU at all! Oh, how the clever nostalgic public was probably disappointed(and how the not so clever contemporary public was probably filled withawe).
This one definitely adds to my list of "underrated/misunderstood"mini-classics. It is always given a particularly bad rap by critics - somego as far as to call it Reed's absolute worst studio album! - but in myhumble opinion, it has more to do with the circumstances of the album'srelease than the music itself. Apparently, Sally Can't Dance wasLou's "commercial tribute" to his record company for allowinghim to get away with Berlin (he took revenge on everybody with MetalMachine Music the very next year, though!). They wanted an accessible,easy-going, cool-sounding album that would sell really well, and this iswhat they got. Lou himself was never happy with the record, and it hasentered history as "the sellout album".
In early 1975, the record company was pressing Lou Reed down for thenext album. Being in a particularly negative streak of mind, and surmising(with good enough reasons) that the industry guys were just trying to furthercash in on his name, Lou Reed issued this. And got out of his contract.
Amazing. Once again, Lou reinvents himself - this time he concentratesmore on the 'romantic' side. This, rather short (about thirty five minuteslong), album simply consists of songs with simple love thematics: simple,that is, by Lou's own standards, because such a smart guy can't reallywrite simple love songs, now can he? The arrangements are all strippeddown, the glam element is gone completely, but no signs of art-rock complexityeither - Berlin this record ain't, for sure. Now you can kill meand you can sue me and you can sneer at me, but for Heaven's sake I don'tunderstand why I like this album so much. The problem is, there just aren'tthat many distinctive melodies - after all, how many distinctive melodiesyou can actually produce when you're just sitting in the studio and absent-mindedlystrumming your guitar? Most of these songs are simply what we'd call 'streamsof consciousness': some have verses and choruses, some prefer not to havethem; some have lots of lyrics, some have the same lines repeated overand over; some happen to have hooks, others have none. And throughout thewhole record he mostly sets the same groove - a simple rhythm guitar track,often acoustic, sometimes electric, quiet spare instruments like gentleslide guitar or an occasional piano, and soft, unobtruding drumming. Andthe vocals, of course. People who are allergic to Reed's vocals, betterstay away - they're always the center of attention.
Every usual review of this album will start telling you about how StreetHassle was Lou's response to the punk movement, and how it was a sincerestatement and a great frustrated record and easily his best since Berlinand stuff. And you know what? Sometimes usual reviews can be right!
Another one of those records that critics like ripping each other'sthroats about, this one caused perhaps the biggest polarization in publicopinion since Metal Machine Music, and naturally so: those who wereso much addicted to Reed as the humble, stripped-down street philosopher,or to Reed as the sneering garage rocker, or to Reed as the stern icy glamicon, had to go through yet another nervous breakdown as Lou veers intoall kinds of Seventies' excesses, including disco, Fifties' retro stuffupdated for the decade, and unambitious, er, 'club music' in general. Thus,everybody either loved or hated this album, and there's a very slim chanceof your finding a review that doesn't rave about this stuff or doesn'tspit on it.
Lou entered the Eighties completely 'ready to suck', as might be said.It's not that he was being misled by robotic, technophilic production,a thing all too common for elder stars in the decade; it's just that itwas much and much too hard for him to remain on the leading edge of musicalinnovation. Just take a look at this record. You might notice these hardlyimpressive numbers that I put up there in the beginning and think thatI completely condemn this album as a rotten one or something. Actually,not at all: I don't really mind listening to this stuff, just as I don'treally mind listening to, say, Bob Dylan's contemporary stuff (althoughhe did release his worst album ever that year). It's fairly decentlyproduced, too - the band is stripped down once again, with the main emphasison a couple electric guitars and the rhythm section, and only Michael Fonfara'sannoying synths manage to spoil the picture from time to time. Plus, therecord is not too long: eleven cuts, none of which go over four minutes,so if you don't like a song, chances are it'll go away before you evenhave the chance to express your disappointment.
Hey! We're back to good! This is everything that last album promisedto be, but actually wasn't! It even managed to win high critical praise,despite the fact that it was probably the last of serious "artisticsuccesses" for Lou for the entire duration of the Eighties. Kind oflike Tug Of War was the last artistic hooray for Paul McCartneyin the early Eighties. Principally, the subject of the record is more orless the same: it is chock-full of Lou's autobiographical lyrics, straightforwardand sometimes even straightforward to the point of him entirely losinghis usual poetic vibe, but I guess everybody is to be allowed to make atleast one record like that in one's life, especially if one has actuallydeserved it. 2b1af7f3a8