Fifth and final in a series of posts where I go through some of my favourite albums of the decade which made Ferris Bueller, Jello Pudding Pops and f*cking Bon Jovi*.
Here’s Lou Reed’s ‘The Blue Mask’ from 1982…
By 1982, Lou Reed was slipping out of his 30s. The Blue Mask is the musical result of turning 40 (which I hear can be quite weird), and it’s at times brain-meltingly heavy and sorrowfully mellow; an evocation of both the desperate anger of losing youth and the bittersweet acceptance of it.
By this time, Lou had let go of the New York druggy, androgynous, Warhol-obsessed faux-decadence he had been peddling for the entirety of the 1970s from the detached persona of a sleazy intellectual, and by the 1980’s had actually begun to sing about himself with the kind of scary honesty that we had never seen before. The face of Transformer, as the cover and title shows, is now just a mask. Clean, sober and living in a rural retreat in New Jersey at the time, Reed seems at first glance happy with ‘my house, my motorcycle and my wife’, but on Waves of Fear confesses to ‘cringe at my terror and hate my own smell’. Jee-zuss, Lou. Chill your bean.
The man has a knack for assembling really weird bands, and this one; comprised of highly melodic jazz bassist Fernando Saunders, avant-geetarrist Robert Quine and top notch pro-thrasher Doane Perry can do floaty jazz and industrial rock in equal weird measure, and reach that weird musical alchemy while doing so.
His best album. Yeah, I said it.
9 Heavenly Arms out of 10
*Liiiivvvviiinnn’ on a praaayyyyerrrr