Lou Reed is an icon for many different reasons for many different people. He is a polarizing figure to many as well; you either love Lou Reed or hate him. I’ve met few people that don’t have a strong reaction either way. I’ve felt both ways about him at different points in my life but it always comes back to the love side (though it’s arguable love and hate are essentially the same thing).
There’s far too much to say about the man than I want to for a simple music post, but this album Transformer, is a pretty fair summation of why I always end up loving Lou. The deceptively straightforward simplicity of his music, his ability to distill so much in a single line, his awkwardness that lied right next to his ultra coolness.
Transformer has all that wrapped up in one album. There may be objectively better records than this, or personal favorites that rise and fall as the years go by, but I feel this album showcases the man and his music consistently over time and throughout the record itself. The fact that Mick Ronson and David Bowie worked with Reed here doesn’t hurt, but ultimately the storytelling is all Lou. And it’s his storytelling that always brings me back to most of his work.
There isn’t a bad tune on this album in my opinion and it flows wonderfully. If you’re one of the rare people who’ve never heard Lou Reed or only know him from a hit or two, you can’t go wrong by starting here to see what a lot of the fuss was about the man.