Lou Reed - Transformer (Vinyl)

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Transformer is the second solo studio album by American recording artist Lou Reed. The album is considered an influential landmark of the glam rock genre, anchored by Reed's most successful single, "Walk on the Wild Side", which touched on then-controversial topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, prostitution, and drug use. Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, the album was released in November 1972 by RCA Records. Though Reed's self-titled debut solo album had been unsuccessful, Bowie had been an early fan of Reed's former band The Velvet Underground, and used his own fame to promote Reed, who had not yet achieved mainstream success.

Pressed on standard black vinyl.

 



Transformer is one of those records for me. Y'know, the albums you first heard when you were in your late teens, having those early character defining sexual and drug-related experiences that are formative to your personality and stay with you for life. When said experiences inevitably return to mind, the soundtrack to the debauchery plays crystal clear in my mind, and it includes many songs from this record. "Vicious" is the party starter, a jangly, upbeat melodic rocker that sounds like a glam update of the songs found on the VU's excellent Loaded LP. The Po-faced honesty and sincerity of "Perfect Day" makes me nostalgic for those glorious days when irony wasn't prevalent in left-of-centre rock music. It's as sincerely poignant, playful and joyous as Lou gets, in roughly equal measures.

In my younger, more naive days, I was somewhat oblivious to just how 'faggy' this record is in places –and I mean no slur against Reed as this sleazy campness really gives the record more substance. The extremely camp "Make Up" and "New York Telephone Conversation" are throwaway, yet semi-precious gems. The song Lou Reed is perhaps most famous for, "Walk on the Wild Side", is indeed a wonderful paean to several of Warhol's Factory scenesters, and evokes a seedy glamour in its tales of the glorious low life. It's pretty cool too that a lyrical couplet about a drag queen giving blow jobs in the back room of a dive bar inexplicably escaped so many classic rock radio censors over the last thirty odd years!

"Satellite of Love" is Reed at his bombastic best. A strong melody and a grandiose chorus of backing vocalists help the song achieve a serious anthem quality. The drunken, last-call "Goodnight Ladies" brings the camp once again, but it's an appropriate outro to what is truly an amazing record. No wannabe, drug-experimenting, sex-obsessed late-teen should be without it on heavy rotation.
Reviewed by: MattDamon


A1 Vicious
A2 Andy's Chest
A3 Perfect Day
A4 Hangin' 'Round
A5 Walk On The Wild Side
B1 Make Up
B2 Satellite Of Love
B3 Wagon Wheel
B4 New York Telephone Conversation
B5 I'm So Free
B6 Goodnight Ladies


 

"Remastered under Lou's direct personal supervision"

John Halzey by courtesy of Island Records Ltd.

℗ 1972 & © 1972, 2016 RCA Records, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.