Lou Reed passed away last Sunday after having complications from a liver transplant. Reed's recent passing brought back so many feelings, good and bad, about my life. The Velvet Underground and Lou Reed were THEE soundtrack to my life in college. I don't know how many times I listened to "Heroin" and "Sunday Morning" on my headphones while I was in the study hall of my dorm in my freshmen year in college. This time of my life was probably the most depressed I have ever been, and as dark as the Velvet Underground could be, they brought lightness to my life back then. I completely connected with the music, and as a 19 year old, I felt the anger and depression, yet tenderness at the same time from the lyrics of Reed--lyrically and musically he could be as spiritual as he was dark (listen to "Jesus" as an example of Reed's spirituality). I was obsessed with all four Velvet Underground albums, but especially Velvet Underground & Nico. I was never as big of a fan of Reed's solo work, but enjoyed listening to Transformer and Berlin occasionally (even though Berlin was too much of a downer even for the dark, goth-influenced late teen that I was back then). I remember once listening to Metal Machine Music once ALL THE WAY THROUGH, which I think barely anyone can attest to--of course I was under the influence, but that's beside the point. The point is that Reed's music, his lyrics, his deadpan New York vocal delivery, his style, and his fearlessness to grow and change as an artist were inspirational and commendable. Lou was an artist, a rock legend, and probably one of most influential musicians in rock music of the past fifty years. R.I.P. Mr. Reed, you are gone but will never be forgotten.
Scott Walker's first four albums (Scott, Scott 2, Scott 3, and Scott 4) were big fixtures for me about twelve years ago. Somehow, over the years I've moved away from Scott Walker--I think I burned out on his music. In the past few weeks, I've been rediscovering his music, and really enjoying it. I recently discovered his track "The Plague", a B-Side off of his first album, Scott. This track really blows me away--I can't believe it wasn't released on any of his proper albums. You can find it in the box set of Walker's music, or on the compilation Boy Child (a very nice introduction to Walker's music). I love the introduction to the track--the la, la, la's of the female vocals, the fuzzed out-acid-drenched guitar intro to the song, then Walker's vocals kick in, "I spent many nights laying on my back, waiting for the dawn that appears to crack..." Just a great song!
Not necessarily a HUGE fan of Natural Four, but I've always been a sucker for "Can This Be Real?", the first track off of their debut album Natural Four. It definitely has that Gamble-Huff, Philly soul sound to it. Beautiful vocals, and a nice, sax lead-in solo just to start the song off right. Just a solid single overall, once of those 'repeaters' for me, I can never get enough of it.