“I’m gonna try for the kingdom”

 “I have never thought of music as a challenge — you always figure the audience is at least as smart as you are . . . You do this because you like it, you think what you’re making is beautiful. And if you think it’s beautiful, maybe they think it’s beautiful.”

–Lou Reed, quoted in the New York Times’ obituary:
Ratliff, Ben. (2013).  Outsider whose dark, lyrical vision helped shape rock ’n’ roll.  The New York   Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/28/arts/music/lou-reed-dies-at-71.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131028&_r=0

lou reed
New York City, 2009. Photo credit: Chad Batka for The New York Times

[eulogy] Lou Reed wasn’t a conventional musician, nor even a typical rock ’n’ roller. He listened to his experience, put it into words and music, listened to that, and pronounced it beautiful. In his relentless exploration of what many of us are afraid to see, Reed might be the dark side of Christ the Redeemer. In “The Power and the Glory” (from Magic and Loss), Reed “saw a bird turn into a tiger”–perhaps T.S. Eliot’s “Christ the tiger.”  Reed was a “witness to life” (a line probably from Lulu, a late collaboration w Robert Wilson).

Here’s a beautiful b&w video acoustic version of “Berlin” with John Cale:

[rant] Reed wasn’t a untalented musician singing off-key any more than Neil Young or Bob Dylan. He was a listener. Anyone who can listen to Kanye West with an open mind and some artistic compliments is either confused or a better listener than I am. (Reed wrote a review of a West album recently in thetalkhouse.com). I don’t agree that West’s sexually violent images aren’t serious, intentional, or powerless–and in a less off-the-cuff mood Reed probably wouldn’t either. Yet “There She Goes Again” is on the first VU album, with its refrain “you better hit her.” Even cultural icons don’t always think through their own involvement with the prevailing ideology.


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