Goodnight Ladies: Lou Reed’s Final Farewell
Lou Reed’s Final Farewell
I was born in 1980 so I didn’t grow up with Velvet Underground tracks but, then again, I shouldn’t have grown up to the incredible sounds of Lou Reed’s Transformer. Nonetheless, a decade after its release my Mum was doubtless listening while carrying my brother. A decade after that we’d be listening together. A decade after that I’d be listening on my own. A decade after that – last year – I’d be listening with my husband.
Like the very best music, so much of Lou Reed’s work speaks to us. We know we are not alone. Whatever the pain or the absurdity, the comedy or the despair, Lou Reed encapsulated something in his works that makes his work an enduring art form.
Perfect Day still makes me cry every single time I hear it (barring a dodgy cover version we would try and pretend didn’t happen, had it not raised money for charity). New York Conversation makes me smile, while my heart tugs a little, remembering singing in silly accents with my Mum. Walk on the Wild Side reminds me of every shitty day that was picked up by that beautiful simplicity, almost a delicious smugness set to a beat.
Despite his many many other albums, I would always find myself putting Transformer back in the tape deck, then the CD player, then on the iPod. I suspect, for many of us, it feels like a strange soundtrack to our own lives, embracing the very best and very worst, the obscure and the banal. It’s so much fun. It’s so much sadness. It’s just so very very much…