Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s. No. 67. Lou Reed and John Cale – Songs for Drella

I don’t think I am being particularly controversial when I say that Lou Reed’s musical output over his fifty-year-ish career was varied in quality. The highs are pretty high, the lows can be surprisingly low. The worst live performance I ever saw was Lou Reed, post that Metallica thing he did, turning everything up to eleven, allowing an over-enthusiastic saxophonist to bleEARK their little heart out, ruining some of the finest songs recorded in the twentieth century.

Ho hum, eh? It’s not like I’ll never have another chance to see him live or anything like that is it?

I’ve always wondered why he decided to go that way when he could have played a quiet set of songs with minimal accompaniment and it would have been superb. Raging against the dying of the light? Perhaps. Bloody mindedness? Almost certainly to some degree. Just Lou Reed being Lou Reed the best way he knew how? Yeah, probably a bit of that too.

If you like the more thoughtful, quiet Lou Reed like I like the more thoughtful, quiet Lou Reed and you haven’t heard Songs for Drella, I suggest you get on that quick smart. The opening song, Small Town, is one of his very best songs.

Fine. Yes. It’s a John Cale album too. I know that. But I haven’t seen John Cale live, have I? So him being on the album doesn’t really fit my narrative, does it? It’s not as if I’m actually going to go into the album in surgical detail, is it? “This is a brilliant album. You will like it,” is about as good as it gets on these posts. I’m basically shit at album reviews but I started this countdown and I’m bastard well going to finish it. It’s not like anyone is making you read them. Just make a note of the album and give it a listen later on. Or don’t. Whatever.