Lou Reed - Transformer (1972)
When I found Transformer on my dad's shelves, it stuck out for two reasons. First, the cover art, which can probably be blamed for the first utterance of the term 'heroin chic.' Secondly, I had just seen Adventureland, in which Satellite of Love is heavily referenced. And while I had several Lou Reed songs among my collection, for some reason that track had eluded me until then.
Transferring this album to mp3 was the first time I'd actually listened to the album all the way through. It starts with Vicious, which is the dictionary definition of a Lou Reed tune. The steady 4/4 marching guitars, accented with the occasional distorted shimmy, all backing up the understated vocals. The song builds to a Heroin-like cacophony, but reels it in just when you think it's all about to fly off the handle.
[ mp3 ]: Lou Reed - Vicious
By the time I got to the third track, Perfect Day, I realized I had stopped doing whatever menial tasks I do when transferring these records - dishes, writing, whatever. I was simply standing there, completely locked in. This is Lou Reed at his best. The songs are so tight they make you forget any artistry involved. It's like these songs have always existed and Lou Reed just grabbed them out of the ether and started playing them. For example, Perfect Day could have a parenthetical title, Perfect Song.
[ mp3 ]: Lou Reed - Perfect Day
And finally, on the second side, there it was. Satellite of Love, finally in my grasp.
[ mp3 ]: Lou Reed - Satellite of Love
As the record ran out on side B (with the brilliant Goodnight Ladies, which I would like to be played ceremoniously at my funeral), I immediately re-arranged my brain to refer to this as Lou Reed's best album. Can you name one better?