#192: Transformer by Lou Reed


Transformer by Lou Reed (1972)

Favorite Tracks: "Vicious" and "Andy's Chest" and "Perfect Day" and "Hangin' Round" and "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Make Up" and "Satellite of Love" and "Wagon Wheel" and "I'm So Free"

Thoughts: Confession time: I have very, very little knowledge of Lou Reed or his music.  I know one of his songs (which is incidentally on this album.  But the reason I know it has nothing to do with Lou Reed).

My dad visited me last week and I told him this was the next album on the list, and I blamed him for my lack of familiarity with Lou Reed.  He denied nothing, admitting he was never very into the guy.  In fact, when he tried to come up with Lou's biggest hit, he couldn't remember.  Lou Reed: revered among music lovers that are not in my immediate family.

But no matter what, this is a rock album from the early seventies.  Especially since I really liked the The Velvet Underground album at #310. I knew it couldn't be too bad.  And it wasn't! For some reason I always expected Lou to have some kind of raspy, creaky voice that you had to grow to love, but at least in the 70s, his voice was lovely!  Honestly, it felt a bit like a hybrid of David Bowie and Willie Nelson.  Strange, I know.

I totally recognized "Perfect Day" from Trainspotting, and it's a wonderful if slightly creepy song.  I definitely need to own it.  The one song I hinted at knowing is "Satellite of Love."  Who can guess why?  Because that's the name of the dog bone-shaped spaceship in Mystery Science Theater 3000.  I read in my Mystery Science Theater 3000 Amazing Colossal Episode Guide that this was the (likely) origin of the ship's name.  So I got this song!  The end.  But it is a great song.  I love the chorus and the little "bum, bum, bum."  That was my real first introduction to Lou Reed.

"Wagon Wheel" has a fun groove and fantastic female background vocals, even if I don't agree with its message of not wanting to sleep too long. "I'm So Free" had me dancing in my chair, and while I expected "Goodnight Ladies" to be the barbershop quartet song from The Music Man, it's cute tuba(?) and oboe tune won me over and was a perfect album closer.

All in all, I'm a Lou Reed convert, ready to explore the rest of his discography and add Transformer to my music library.

Is This Better Than Bad?: Not to me, but it's definitely a fantastic album!

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