Lou went for Baroque on his third solo album, singing about such light subjects as suicide and drug abuse over grandiose Bob Ezrin production. The result was a classic of its kind, for some reason out of print in the U.S. 'til now. Comes with original artwork and mastering from the original tapes.
Eternally perverse, Reed responded to having a pop hit with Transformer
by making a massive bummer of an album, built around reworked versions of a couple of older songs. Berlin
is psychologically grueling and unremittingly dark (scariest moment: "The Kids," which ends with a very long tape of children screaming in terror), but the savage contrasts of its sound have gotten more impressive with time. The big production flourishes hit like a hangover, Reed's voice sounds like he's trying to stave off emotional involvement with his lyrics because it would hurt too much, and the multi-layered textures of "Oh Jim" surge and recede like details of a nightmare. The album takes strength to hear, and rewards it. --Douglas Wolk