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Berlin [Original recording remastered]

Lou ReedAudio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)

Price: $6.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Amazon Price New from Used from
MP3 Music, 10 Songs, 1998 $9.90  
Audio CD, 1998 $6.99  
Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 1998 $6.99  
Vinyl, 2008 $26.81  

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Lou Reed is an American Master, a playwright, a poet, and a photographer whose photos have been exhibited worldwide. His third photography book, Romanticism, will be released in 2009. He is the recipient of the Chevalier Commander of Arts and Letters from the French government and numerous other awards. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and is a founding member of the ... Read more in Amazon's Lou Reed Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 24, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: 1973
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00000637V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,369 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Berlin
2. Lady Day
3. Men Of Good Fortune
4. Caroline Says I
5. How Do You Think It Feels
6. Oh, Jim
7. Caroline Says II
8. The Kids
9. The Bed
10. Sad Song

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

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

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars warning: keep away from the suicidal December 16, 2005
Format:Audio CD
Lou Reed's "Berlin" is perhaps the darkest album ever made. That said, it is a masterpiece. The subject matter is unremittingly bleak but the lyrics are startling in both their empathy and detachment. In "The Kids" Reed sings, "They're Taking Her Children Away", and it is about just that, chronicalling the disintegrating life of a single mother, "Caroline Says Pt 1" tells the tale of an uberbitch and the man who licks her boots, while "Caroline Says Pt 2" (same Caroline?) offers the contrast of a beaten and abused speed freak at the end of her rope. The utter apotheosis of despair is realized with "The Bed", in which a man takes us on a mordantly matter-of-fact tour of the apartment in which his wife, and the mother of his children lived, loved and killed herself. It is absolutely unapproachable as a hymn of resigned desolation. "This is the room where she took the razor...and I said, Oh, what a feeling." The orchestration of "Berlin" is likewise stunning, ranging from full-on horns and strings ("Caroline Pt 1") to bare acoustic minimalism ("The Bed"). All in all there is nothing in music I can compare Lou Reed's "Berlin" to. It is perfect in its despair, but not for the clinically depressed.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reed's Accidental Masterpiece. November 29, 2001
Format:Audio CD
I bought BERLIN after reading Victor Bockris's brutal biography of Reed, TRANSFORMER. It was hailed as a "masterpiece" throughout the book, and having been a big fan of Reed and VU for years, AND since it had just been re-issued on CD, I snatched it up. I had no idea what a surprise I was in for. Having heard many of the VU versions of these songs, and based on my other Reed discs, I was completely stunned by the theatrical-German-tavern orchestration, and the blatant violence (particularly misogyny) in the lyrics. None of this turned me off of the album, as I was determined to see it as a testament of a certain state of mind, which was discussed at length in TRANSFORMER. And according to the book the recording of this album was a catastrophe, what with Reed's increasing dependence on speed, and his emotional state. Knowing this, it is amazing that the album turned out as well as it did. But like so many other "masterpieces" it wasn't hailed as such until much, much later, when it could be listened to within its own context, and not just as the follow-up to the album TRANSFORMER. This leads me to my calling it an "accidental masterpiece," as obviously Reed's vocals aren't up to par, there's nary a Reed-guitar crunch in sight, and much of the orchestration is close to being absurdly overwrought. However, my reason for giving it five stars is that it IS a perfect testament to Reed's state of mind/being at that particular time, flaws and all. Not many albums achieve this. One last thing, I wish people would stop with the: "I like the VU version of this-or-that song better." I happen to like Reed's later takes on those songs, and in this case think that the BERLIN version of "Sad Song" is much more powerful than the original.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lou Reed mines the beauty of despair. January 6, 2000
Format:Audio CD
It's sometimes hard for me to think about "Berlin" without conjuring up Mike Myers' Saturday Night Live character, Dieter (the host of "Sprockets"). Like Dieter ("I find your agony delicious"), Reed seeks -- and finds, in abundance -- the beauty in pain and despair on this unforgettable album.
"Berlin" is all about darkness and decadence, though not the kind Lou Reed explored on "Transformer", his previous release. Rather than continuing with that disc's celebration of camp fruitery, "Berlin" takes a major turn onto seriously grim sidestreets littered with broken souls. A conceptual meditation on feelings most of us would rather not acknowledge, "Berlin" is a bitter narrative about the cruelty people can inflict on each other in the supposedly safe confines of a relationship.
The most amazing thing about "Berlin", however, isn't the subject matter, it's the music. Producer Bob Ezrin assembled an array of the era's most talented musicians (including Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce, Aynsley Dunbar and Tony Levin) and embroidered the album with lush, breathtaking string and wind orchestrations. The music and lyrics offset each other in stark contrast, much the same way a German expressionist film utilizes black and white.
Throughout, Reed delivers his trademark off-key vocals with a more pronounced sense of detachment than is usual even for him; on "Berlin" he's not so much an impartial observer, but a willing accomplice to the proceedings who angrily refuses to do anything about the destiny unfolding before him.
"Berlin" has been blasted as the ultimate downer of Reed's career -- quite an accomplishment, given the breadth of his depressive catalogue. Which is fair enough, for the faint of heart. For the rest of us, "Berlin" is a groundbreaking masterpiece.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cycle of Sorrow July 23, 2007
Format:Audio CD
These songs are harrowing but beautiful and ultimately rewarding if you can survive its labyrinthine descent into heartbreak and despair. The most melodic songs include Caroline Says I and II, the wistful Oh Jim, the painful The Kids, the bleak The Bed and the soulful Sad Song.

Over these beautiful melodies Reed lays his vocals that are so genuine, so apt and so gripping that listening to them is like being privy to the private details of a doomed relationship. Of course, these all fit the complete picture to create one of the most cohesive and searng concept albums in rock, from the jazzy intro of Berlin with its lounge piano through the spoken poem of Lady Day, right to the melancholy last refrains of Sad Song.

The grand production and sympathetic arrangements add gravitas to the somber mood to create a dark masterpiece of epic proportions. Somewhat inaccessible to some fans, Berlin has nevertheless improved with time and remains one of Lou Reed's greatest albums.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars or think you might enjoy that, give "Berlin" a listen
An acquired taste, not for everyone. But if you can remember when music made you think, or think you might enjoy that, give "Berlin" a listen.
Published 1 month ago by Gerard Coccaro
5.0 out of 5 stars Lou Reed - Berlin
Lou Reed, Berlin. Easily one of the best albums ever made. My sister says that if you're feeling depressed, do not listen to this as you will likely commit suicide. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kurk Schoner
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best and most obscure Lou Reed works!
This album really stands the test of time. I had the LP when it first came out and on rehearing it I found it even greater an album that I first thought,
Published 7 months ago by James Lovendusky
5.0 out of 5 stars Lou Reed's best
Always a Reed fan, I had not been exposed to Berlin with the exception of the few songs that were on various compilation albums. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Brian Emery
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Lou Reed Classic!
Excellent album that any fan of the Velvet Underground would likely enjoy. It might be a bit downbeat for some, however I love it!!! God bless, you Lou! Read more
Published 10 months ago by Vjs
5.0 out of 5 stars Lou Reed Sketches the Lives of City Dwellers
Lou Reed’s third album, Berlin, embodies the most beloved narrative in rock and roll history: the lost classic. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Tom Birkenstock
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad Songs
In the early 1970s, rock critics who had spent most of the previous decade overrating everything that the genre's major stars released (let's be honest, folks: "Blonde on Blonde",... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Richard B. Luhrs
4.0 out of 5 stars Reed on Broadway!
This is by far Lou Reed's most 'musical' collection of songs in his entire career ('Transformer' coming in 2nd). Read more
Published 10 months ago by RJ Nuzzi
5.0 out of 5 stars black angel's love song
Sometimes you just want to listen to the most depressingly beautiful music in the world, and THIS is it. I love this album because, when I am depressed, it is a friend to me.
Published 17 months ago by Sean M
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully difficult !!!!!!!
Probably Lou's best. I love them all, but this one is very special. It's not for everyone but it's a totally inspiring work.
Published 19 months ago by Michael Kime
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Berlin live tour 2007
I would be very interested in a DVD of Julian Schnabel's documentary of this tour, but think it is not available in US-compatible format.
BerkBob
Jan 31, 2008 by Robert M. Baird |  See all 2 posts
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