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Blue Mask Original recording remastered

4.4 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 9, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1982
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording remastered
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B00000HZTB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,025 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Amazon's Lou Reed Store

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Caratzas on August 29, 2000
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"The Blue Mask" is often hailed by critics and fans alike as one of Lou Reed's greatest achievements, and it is deserving of the considerable praise. The disc contains some of Reed's most brutally honest writing in a concise set of songs exploring all aspects of human frailty - good, bad and ugly.
"My House", "Women" and "Heavenly Arms" are inspiring tributes: the former to Reed's mentor Delmore Schwartz; the latter to Reed's then-wife, Sylvia Morales. "Underneath the Bottle" details the struggles of addiction. "The Gun", "Waves of Fear" and the title cut are easily three of the most harrowing, unforgiving songs Reed has ever penned.
The real bounty, however, has to be the sheer beauty of the musicianship. Reed is once again playing guitar, having been inspired and goaded by ex-Voidoid Robert Quine, whose work here is among the best of his influential career. Quine's guitar - at turns shimmering, droning and apocalyptic - creates sublime moods and textural frameworks that serve the songs perfectly; Reed has not been fortunate to work with such a sympathetic musician since.
The quartet of musicians (filled out by Fernando Saunders on bass and drummer Doane Perry) respond to each other with the intimacy of a seasoned jazz combo. This is a real musician's album: dynamics are carefully observed, the space between the notes is respected, and all elements coalesce into a perfect whole.
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Format: Audio CD
Let me get this out in the open so we're all on the same page, I'm a Lou Reed fan. I enjoy virtually all of his solo records, never expected some sort of extension of his work with the Velvet Underground, and feel he has at times gotten unfairly treated by a music press expecting something that will never come, mainly, records that would touch as many people as his previous band's did. His epic solo catalogue is exactly that, a document of a single songwriter finding his way with different bands and, at times, different styles. The songs themselves more than stand the test of time, even on recordings when Lou got bogged down with exactly how he tuned his dozen guitars. That said, for my money "The Blue Mask" is his best record. Lou and Robert Quine couldn't sound better together; tough, lean complimenting sounds to great melodies and, naturally, wonderful lyrcis. Heavy, dense tracks like 'The Blue Mask' and 'Waves Of Fear' rock like Lou rarely does, cruching walls of sound punctuated with horrifying imagery that seem to always get personal in the most chilling fashion ("Make the sacrifce-mutilate my face-if you need someone to kill-I'm a man without a will"). But the true brilliance of the record is the quieter moments, odes of admiration to a former mentor, a love song to his wife that seems to be a modest stab at something almost radio friendly, and an effective time piece about America's lost innocence. These songs pull you inside the worlds of their protagonists, one moment your nursing a hangover and wondering why your leg hurts, the next remembering why you love your girlfriend. Oh yeah, and there's one about a guy with a gun, who knows how to use it...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a mature work from Reed when he was forty years old (1982).....he's gone now and many young people don't understand or like his music. Hell, many older people don't either. His influence is undeniable, however.

The main theme here is the same one that Reed explored his entire career. The desire to find a place of peace and understanding in a violent, horrifying, confusing and yet beautiful universe. The need to understand and express what he felt..... Hero worship, spirituality, alcoholism, gun violence, murder and assassination, sex and redeeming love, and Death Fear ....... charges all through this album. In other words the things that make us human, good or bad...as filtered through Reed's personality and perspective. "The Day John Kennedy Died" is to me Reed's most powerful statement concerning America and civilized life in general. That day it seemed like reality shifted forever and Reed really captures the helpless and hopeless feeling that engulfed the whole country.....a sick psychological vortex developed in our country that is ongoing today. It's mainstream now...

Reed's guitar dueling with the great Robert Quine is really good. This unit is just right...two guitars, bass and drums. This is recorded well, remastered and if you like Lou Reed's music you should have this. When you listen to the harsh rock edge of "Blue Mask" or "Waves of Fear" you can see why Metallica wanted to work with him. Two stunning workouts that surely influenced Metallica. When this album was recorded (82) Metallica had not released an album...yet. Maybe one day Lulu (with Metallica) will be considered a masterpiece by some people that didn't understand it when it was released. His final powerful statement. That particular album (Lulu) made me look at music in a totally new way...
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Format: Audio CD
In short - this is Lou Reed's greatest album.

'Transformer', 'Berlin' and 'Street Hassle' may get the most press, but 'The Blue Mask' is the real deal.

Yes, that's a steep claim; but after listening to Lou's output over the years, 'The Blue Mask' holds up like none other. It's an absolutely beautiful, moving and soulful album. Lou is at his most mature, honest and vulnerable. He's also brutal, as this album contains two of Lou's most devastating songs - "Waves of Fear" and "The Blue Mask". And man, what a doozy that title track is - we're talking psychopathic, desperate and intensely powerful! (Like a lost GG Allen tune that GG could never competently express.)

I've owned different versions of The Blue Mask, and the 2006 BMG Japan Mini LP remaster is the best (although pricey). The expanded sound quality finally do justice to the intricate, almost avant-garde guitar play between Lou and Robert Quine. Their harsh, angular riffs rock like the greatest Sonic Youth material.

Beleive the hype - The Blue Mask is the definition of a consistent, rewarding album. A true comeback album. One of the greats.
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