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Ecstasy Import

4.2 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, April 4, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Finally, Reed returns with a release of daring and joy, 21st century blues and the drive and rock and roll. Reed is a rock n roll classic and remains the essential poet of modern music.

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Ecstasy is a surprisingly brutal and angry record, even for Lou Reed, who virtually introduced those words into the rock & roll lexicon more than 30 years ago. Like the brilliant New York and Magic and Loss, Ecstasy is a sprawling song cycle dealing with one particular subject, in this case marriage and the ensuing death of love. Ecstasy is the sound of relationships unraveling and love going sour. The songs are about infidelity, mistrust, and dishonesty; more importantly, they're about that moment in time when the flush of romance turns rancid. As Reed puts it in "Modern Dance," "It's all downhill after the first kiss." Through a series of varied sketches, Reed poses a question for which he has no answer: At what point does your lover become your tormentor? On the record's best track, "Baton Rouge," Reed asks, "I wonder where love ends and hate starts to blush?" Looking back on the relationship in "Baton Rouge," Reed dreams about what might have been: the two-and-a-half strapping sons, the fat grandsons, the barbecues, and the family dog--all at the expense of self-identity. The taut, muscular guitar work of Reed and Mike Rathke, complemented by the fluid bass playing of longtime collaborator Fernando Saunders, fuel the anger and helplessness of such songs as "Paranoia in the Key of E" and "Prism," in which Reed likens marriage to indentured servitude. On quieter songs, such as "Tatters" and "Turning Time Around," the band completely shifts gears, using strings and sparser arrangements to create beautiful songs about love's bitter aftermath. The centerpiece of Ecstasy, "Possum Day," is a bleak morass of dissolution and despair played out among the crack whores and sex junkies who have long populated Reed's songs. As Reed and Rathke's guitars churn out an incessant wail, the song's wretched protagonist declares in defiance and disbelief, "Don't know why, baby, I'm still here / I'm the only one left standing / Calm as an angel." Perhaps Reed is also referring to his own staying power and relevance in a world of two-minute pop stars and drug casualties. --Paul Ducey
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 4, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Warner Bros UK
  • ASIN: B00004S4P9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,514 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Wow. What an incredibly bleak album, even by Lou's standards. Though themetically similar to "Berlin" (with it's boy-meets-girl, boy-loses-girl, girl kills herself plotline), it lacks the orchestration of that early '70s masterpiece. Instead, it sounds more akin to "New York" or "Set the Twilight Reeling" -- a rocking, feedback-laden sound. If you don't mind the fact that the lyrics wouldn't be out of place in a suicide note, I highly recommend it.
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Format: Audio CD
it is thrilling to hear an artist in his fourth decade of work this vital, inspired and experimental. a sublime discourse on love in its various forms from transcendence (big sky) to masochism (rock minuet) to regret (baton rouge) to existential angst (like a possum) just to name a few. lou knows the power in the music and allows his voice to be shaped by the incandescent sounds. this must be one of the greastest vocal performances on record on a par with dylan on blonde on blonde and lennon on plastic ono band. along with the blue mask and live in italy, ecstasy can stand next to the genius of v.u.
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Format: Audio CD
Like many a long time Lou Reed fan, I was shocked and felt a big loss with his recent death. So why am I writing a review for an album that came out 13 years ago? Because I think its the last truly great album he ever cut. Released in 2000, Ecstasy met with cursory reception but was an emotionally daring and ambitious work. Life long themes of decadence and soul searching duke it out and come clean. Say what you want of the 18 minute Like A Possum, but Reed isn't playing dead on this one. Not by a long shot.

It's mutually agreed Transformer, Berlin, Sally Can't Dance are the major Post Velvets classics. And while the title tracks to Coney Island Baby and Street Hassle make them essential, after 1978 things could be pretty hit and miss with Lou. 1982's Blue Mask seemed to be a milestone closing the door on a checkered past. 1989's New York saw Reed emerge as a wry, unflinching elder statesmen and Songs For Drella and Magic & Loss only cemented that. With Ecstasy, he takes a bold leap into the underbelly again, a domain fraught with tattered emotions, conflicted morality and psychosexual darkness.

Paranoia Key of E kicks things off in a fit of jealousy and suspicion. Musically, it captures Reed's, raw driving signature guitar in all it's glory. The infectious Mystic Child continues the trend and is a mid life crisis in full swing, a restless epistle to recklessness abandon. Mad is a brutal look at infidelity from the point of view of the guilty party. Incapable of regret all he has is anger to cling to for justification.

If Ecstasy is an eerie tale of sexual obsession, Modern Dance is a deceptively upbeat ballad about how "it's all downhill after the first kiss.
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Format: Audio CD
Lou Reed's "Ecstasy" is the finest work that he has produced in several years, even when viewed in the context of his masterpieces "New York" and "Magic and Loss." He largely avoids the fault to which he occasionally succumbs on other albums, namely making his references too specific and topical. (He does have one reference to Clinton, unfortunately.) The writing on "Ecstasy" is hard-hitting but universal--they are the kind of lyrics that will resonate with poignancy years from now. "Modern Dance" is a beautiful clash between realism and romanticism; "Tatters" is soft and contemplative; the lines in "Mystic Child" are edgy and terse. With this album, Reed shows yet again that there are very few songwriters in his league.
The music is rough ala the Velvet Underground, and this is quite surprising and very welcome. "Paranoia Key of E" sets the tone with its fuzzy bass and wide-open guitars. Reed is in fine form musically--the guitars have a really nice edge to them, and the music is often passionate and frenzied. "Like A Possum" is another sonic feast that even bears similarities to Metal Machine Music. Frankly, it is nice to see Reed utilizing the aesthetic lessons of his early years by employing them in the context of challenging, contemporary songs that are relevant for the present and the future.
Although the lyrics are sublime and the music is intense, you should buy "Ecstasy" just because Lou Reed, better than any writer in the history of Rock, can take his listeners into the bowels of their consciousness and expose to them the filth that they desperately wish to deny.
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Format: Audio CD
Ecstasy is very strong release from 2000. I can't believe Lou was 58 years old (63 now) because it's full of youthful rebellion and attitude. He hasn't lost any of the anger or edge from when he began the first punk rock movement in 1965 with the VU. Much of this album rocks and Lou's semi-distorted guitar is all over it, along with a great rhythm section (Fernando Saunders and Tony Smith) and a smattering of horns here and there.

The theme of the album is love, or rather the failure of love as almost every song deals with the final days of a dying relationship. Great lyrics throughout. My faves are the opening track, "Paranoia Key of E" with its Angus Young like guitar riffs, the hard-driving "Mystic Child", the verbal battle between husband and wife in "Mad", the extremely sick and perverted "Rock Minuet" and the one so many of us can relate to, "Tatters"...

"I know you're hoping everything works out

Neither one of us is the type that shouts

You sleep in the bedroom

While I pace up and down the hall

Our baby stares at both of us

Wondering which one of us to call

I guess it's true that not every match burns bright

I guess it's true that not all I say is right

But what you said still bounces around in my head

Who thought this could happen to us

When we first went to bed"

There is also the 18 minute "Like a Possum" which would have been an album side back in the day, but is now just one of 14 songs. And after all the turmoil and despair, Ecstasy thankfully finishes with the really upbeat and optimistic "Big Sky". "Ecstasy" deals with loss of love in much the same way as "Magic and Loss" deals with loss of life. Not quite as successfully, but close enough. Lou is a poetic and musical genius.
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