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Magic and Loss

Lou Reed

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iTunes Editors' Notes

Inspired by the illnesses and deaths of songwriter/musician Doc Pomus and another friend, Magic and Loss is Lou Reed's grimmest album. The subject matter is obviously heavy, and Reed's unflinching ear for the truth makes this concept album an intense statement on life and death. The playing is stripped down, with guitarist Mike Rathke, bassist Rob Wasserman, and drummer Michael Blair joining Reed with luminous precision. "What's Good"—the album's most accessible moment—follows the groove set by Reed's previous solo album, New York. "Power and Glory" adds jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott for a break in the action, but the remaining tracks are often a monochromatic stare into the abyss. "Sword of Damocles," "Goodby Mass," and "Cremation" are as dark as anything by Reed since Berlin—except that album is practically kid's play compared with the realities presented here. "Warrior King" adds a redemptive groove, "Gassed and Stoked" employs electrified squalls, and "Power and Glory, Pt. 2" picks up the pace to offer hope and perspective. A brave work.


Born: 02 March 1942 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The career of Lou Reed defied capsule summarization. Like David Bowie (whom Reed directly inspired in many ways), he made over his image many times, mutating from theatrical glam rocker to strung-out junkie to avant-garde noiseman to straight rock & roller to your average guy. Few would deny Reed's immense importance and considerable achievements. As has often been written, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and...
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