Addicted To Noise editor Michael Goldberg writes: Would
anyone save Lou Reed have the audacity to lead off a long awaited new album
with a seeming throwaway about his childhood love for "the Egg Cream?"
Naturally, on closer examination this is song, also featured in Wayne Wang and
Paul Auster's Blue In The Face, proves to be no throwaway. Reed's
primordial, molten guitar alone is epic. But lyrically, the one-time leader of
the Velvet Underground is adding another autobiographical piece to a puzzle
that, over the course of a 30 year career, he has been slowly but surely
filling in. Set The Twilight Reeling (is that a great album title or
what?) is very possibly the most spontaneous sounding album of that long
career. Recorded live in his studio, The Roof," Reed's guitar playing (he
played all but one guitar part) is simply stunning, from the soul fills of "NYC
Man" ("I'm a New York City May, baby/ Say "go" and that is that...Blink your
eyes and I'll be gone") to the jangly acoustic rhythm work on "Finish Line."
Perhaps only Dylan has managed to wed poetry to rock 'n' roll so successfully.
Consider this verse: "I was thinking of Van Gogh's last painting/ The wheat
fields and the crows/ Is that perhaps what you've been feeling." Not to get to
sentimental, but is that beautiful or what? Or how about Reed's favorite lines
on the album: "First came fire then came light/ Then came feeling then came
sight." This album--about rebirth and transformation--is deep, both musically
and lyrically. Fans of Reed are going to trip. And if some of these tracks
don't turn on several new generations to Reed's brilliance, something is very,
very wrong. Oh yeah, there's this song called "Sex With your Parents" that is a
balls-to-the-wall attack on the Right (Rush Rambo and Robert Dole are named in
the lyrics) set to electric blues guitar worthy of a '50s Howlin' Wolf record.