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Audio CD, January 28, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

It's not surprising that Lou Reed finds a kindred spirit in Edgar Allan Poe. The godfather of punk's early ambition was to bring the darker elements of great literature--decay, death, and decadence--to rock & roll. The Raven was born following a spoken-word performance of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" during which Reed "came to understand it in a way I never had before." Accordingly, The Raven may strike Reed's longtime fans in a way the artist never has before. Although dark, the music is stylistically all over the place--from Velvet Underground-like rock instrumentals to actor Steve Buscemi's creepy lounge-lizard take on the anti-showbiz "Broadway Song," to moments that recall such diverse past Reed ventures as Metal Machine Music and the Bells. He even reprises two classics--"Perfect Day" and "The Bed" from Transformer and Berlin, respectively -- in almost unrecognizable forms. Ornette Coleman and David Bowie drop in, and actors read text in which Reed mixes Poe's poems and stories with his own words. The opium references are surely Poe's; the explicit images probably all Reed's. It's hard to tell, though; the blend's that good. --Bill Holdship

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. OvertureLou Reed 1:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Edgar AllanLou Reed 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Call On MeLou Reed (Featuring Laurie Anderson) 2:07$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. The Valley Of UnrestLou Reed 2:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. A Thousand Departed FriendsLou Reed 4:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. ChangeLou Reed 2:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. The BedLou Reed 3:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Perfect DayLou Reed (Featuring Antony) 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. The RavenLou Reed 6:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. BalloonLou Reed 1:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Broadway SongLou Reed 3:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Blind RageLou Reed 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Burning EmbersLou Reed 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Vanishing ActLou Reed 5:23$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. GuiltyLou Reed (Featuring Ornette Coleman) 4:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. I Wanna Know (The Pit And The Pendulum)Lou Reed (Featuring Blind Boys Of Alabama) 6:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Science Of The MindLou Reed 1:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Hop FrogLou Reed (Featuring David Bowie) 1:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Tripitena's SpeechLou Reed 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Who Am I? (Tripitena's Song)Lou Reed 4:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Guardian AngelLou Reed 6:51$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B00007BKGL
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,718 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Lou Reed Store


Image of album by Lou Reed


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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

Visit Amazon's Lou Reed Store
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Customer Reviews

We have lost our ability to judge quality.
Katya Cohen
OK I'll admit I liked Buscemi's lounge lizard on "Broadway Song" although I don't know what it's doing here.
J. Carroll
Any album that reunites David Bowie and Lou Reed is okay with me.
Jerry Dunham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Alan W. Petrucelli on January 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Lou Reed may be the most prolific of popular composer-lyricists, exploring and exploiting the underside of man's heart and desires for the nearly 40 years. One of the first to release recordings that were consistently thematically linked (and releasing very nearly an album a year), Lou is one of the father's of modern music --- the first proto-punk whose words and music suggested life was difficult, love was impossible, betrayal was the norm, but, hey, you might as well live. "The Raven," being released in both a single and sprawling double-disc extravaganza, is a tribute/homage/adaptation of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. It was inevitable that one of the most depressive writers of the 19th century should be reinterpreted by one of the most depressive writers of the 20th century, and then released in the beginning of the 21st century. Sure, "The Raven" is a little over the top, but surely you didn't expect reticence and reserve when Reed does Poe. The double CD is set up in a unique way: There are Poe's stories and poems, rewritten and adapted by Reed, and boasting a supporting cast of actors who are astounding: Elizabeth Ashley, Steve Buscemi, Willem Dafoe, Amanda Plummer, Fisher Stevens and Kate Volk. But wait! Into the embarrassment of riches is added (among others) Laurie Anderson, David Bowie and Ornette Coleman, among others as guests. "The Raven" is sumptuously produced, and the combination of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries is very heady. One listen is hardly enough for the complexities here; additional listenings only enhance and deepen the experience. "The Raven" may not be for everyone, but for fans of Lou Reed (and Edgar Allan Poe), and for those interested in stretching the boundaries of popular entertainment, it is a must. (Written by staff member Stephen J. Finn.)
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Peter C. Ruggiero on July 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I won't go into too much detail here, but I will try to shed some light on a few aspects of this disc that are little-known to many others.
First and foremost, this is NOT your typical LOU REED album.
It's not your typical album...period!
What this is, is a tour de force combining the mind and music of LOU REED, his inner demons mingling with those of the writings of like-mind; EDGAR ALLEN POE.
How many times have you encountered a performer who was brave (and cool) enough to include POETRY (spoken verse) and conceptual tracks interspersed with his musical interpretions?
Not very often at all, I can assure you.
This album; RAVEN, was ORIGINALLY performed ON STAGE (in a spectacle of sound and fury) as a PLAY written by LOU REED.
It was conceived in Germany for the THALIA THEATRE and was later brought to the U.S. for the Brooklyn Academy of Music (B.A.M.), where I saw it performed at the Howard Gilman Opera House in December of 2001.
I have been searching for this album ever since.
(It was to be released shortly thereafter...assumidly under the name of POEtry, but obviously it never manifested.)
I can only assume (until I do more research) that there was some contractual problems that prevented a "cast-album", and instead graced us with celebrity voice-overs from the likes of WILLEM DEFOE (SHADOW of the VAMPIRE & SPIDER-MAN) and STEVE BUSCEMI (FARGO, RESEVOIR DOGS & ANY Adam Sandler flick).
I for one, as a POE fan, as well as one who enjoyes REED's darker musical tendancies, will enjoy hearing the haunting melodies once again (nearly 2 years after the live performance)!
Will I listen to this again and again?
To this, the RAVEN could not say; NEVERMORE.
Oh No...the only response is...EVER more!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By "matthewb2003" on February 21, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Initially I hated this album and was sorely disappointed. After listening to it for three weeks, it has won me over completely. This is Lou Reed in all of his glory and with all of his frequently aggravating excesses. You have to take The Raven as a package: 12 great songs, 6 mediocre songs and 3 fine poetry readings with verses added by Reed.
The album starts off poorly: the instrumental "Overture" may work in concert but is just filler here. The show tune, "Edgar Allen Poe," is a somewhat clever but mostly grating summary of Poe's work set to the tune of "Future Farmers of America." It is fun to hear Reed, with his NY accent, naturally rhyme "Poe" with "Door."
Things then get better. "Call on Me" starts off pretentiously, discussing the "other selves' mournings", but becomes a thing of beauty, transitioning into a stanza of verse read by Laurie Anderson and concluding with her singing the refrain. The instrumental, "A Thousand Departed Friends," sounds not like "Metal Machine Music" as some have suggested, but more like the instrumental conclusion of "What Goes On" on "1969 Live," where musical repetition grows ever so slightly in intensity and tempo and you wish it would never end. An apt tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Reed's stripped down remake of "The Bed" from "Berlin" is perfect: it captures the original's pathos while eschewing its bathos. Speaking of remakes, Reed has a singer name Antony perform "Perfect Day"; Antony's warbly high tenor is almost surreal in its beauty: I've never heard anyone quite like him. When Antony sings background vocals on tracks like "Science of the Mind" and "Guardian Angel," the combination of Reed's voice and his is almost a religious experience.
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