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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Transformer

Lou Reed

1972

Transformer

Album Summary

Transformer is the second solo studio album by American recording artist Lou Reed. Produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, the album was released in November 1972 by RCA Records. It is considered an influential landmark of the glam rock genre, anchored by Reed's most successful single, "Walk on the Wild Side", which touched on then-controversial topics of sexual orientation, gender identity, prostitution, and drug use. Though Reed's self-titled debut solo album had been unsuccessful, Bowie had been an early fan of Reed's former band The Velvet Underground, and used his own fame to promote Reed, who had not yet achieved mainstream success.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.74

Votes

6047

Genres

  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock
Reviews
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Fri Feb 05 2021
4

Cool glam rock album. I liked it when he rhymed 'nose' with 'toes'. 7/10

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Fri Feb 05 2021
5

Just a perfect album Drink sangria in the park And then later, when it gets dark We go home Just a perfect album Feed animals in the zoo Then later a movie, too And then home Oh, it's such a perfect album I'm glad I spent it with you Oh, such a perfect album You just keep me hanging on You just keep me hanging on

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Mon Aug 16 2021
5

Totally seductive. Somehow he makes living on the wild side feel glamorous. I thought I’d get tired of his delivery which almost sounds bored, but it fits the music and lyrics well

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Mon Nov 01 2021
5

I've found that pretty much anything David Bowie touched as a producer turned out to be among the best, if not the best, material that artist would ever put out. This album is no exception. Some nearly timeless and beautiful songwriting here presented with the perfect atmosphere and arrangements. Such a tight little package that still manages to cover many moods. Bowie does such a good job of sweetening Lou up without completely removing his bitter edge. Sounds effortlessly brilliant.

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Such a wonderful, cozy album. Makes me want to stay inside with friends and kiss a boy and dance around.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
5

The high water mark for glam. clever tunes, smart lyrics dealing with the underbelly of society and Bowie on production duties. One of my favourite albums of all time

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Wed Sep 22 2021
5

I was familiar with Lou Reed to an extent, but hadn't listened to this entire album before. I was really blown away by it. Perfect Day is a perfect example of what makes Lou Reed great. On the surface it's a nice, pleasant sounding song, but there is this dark, ominous feeling that pervades it. Lou Reed lets us take a walk on the wild side just by listening to his music. I wasn't expecting to going into it, but I'm going with 5 stars for this one.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
4

TransFOURmer

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Sat Dec 11 2021
2

I'm guessing it's considered a great because of the lyrics and the people involved, but purely musically, it's an absolute borefest.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
4

David Bowie has never been shy about acknowledging his influences, and since the boho decadence and sexual ambiguity of the Velvet Underground's music had a major impact on Bowie's work, it was only fitting that as Ziggy Stardust mania was reaching its peak, Bowie would offer Lou Reed some much needed help with his career, which was stuck in neutral after his first solo album came and went. Musically, Reed's work didn't have too much in common with the sonic bombast of the glam scene, but at least it was a place where his eccentricities could find a comfortable home, and on Transformer Bowie and his right-hand man, Mick Ronson, crafted a new sound for Reed that was better fitting (and more commercially astute) than the ambivalent tone of his first solo album. Ronson adds some guitar raunch to "Vicious" and "Hangin' Round" that's a lot flashier than what Reed cranked out with the Velvets, but still honors Lou's strengths in guitar-driven hard rock, while the imaginative arrangements Ronson cooked up for "Perfect Day," "Walk on the Wild Side," and "Goodnight Ladies" blend pop polish with musical thinking just as distinctive as Reed's lyrical conceits. And while Reed occasionally overplays his hand in writing stuff he figured the glam kids wanted ("Make Up" and "I'm So Free" being the most obvious examples), "Perfect Day," "Walk on the Wild Side," and "New York Telephone Conversation" proved he could still write about the demimonde with both perception and respect. The sound and style of Transformer would in many ways define Reed's career in the 1970s, and while it led him into a style that proved to be a dead end, you can't deny that Bowie and Ronson gave their hero a new lease on life -- and a solid album in the bargain.

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Wed Jun 30 2021
2

I'd say this is actually a bad album. It's quite arch, and a lot of the songs are stupid. Two bangers though.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
2

I expected to like this as I'm generally a fan of the Lou Reed-fronted Velvet Underground. But I didn't. Reed's performances here are utterly boring and uninspired, the lyrics are extremely repetitive, and there's a saxophone solo (automatic one-star deduction). And then a tuba solo (there goes another star). And then there are jazz flutes... it's just an unredeemable mess, to be honest. Which is a shame because I had such high hopes.

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Thu Jan 21 2021
1

I dislike him so so much I have no idea why

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Wed May 19 2021
5

Znany album artysty niezbyt znanego ze swojego samodzielnego dorobku artystycznego, bo jednak najwiekszym komercyjnym suksesem muzycznym pana Reeda byl velvet undergound, zwlaszcza z niko, po rozpadze bandy Reed musial jakos zrestartowac kariere, debiutancki solowy albmers nie przyjal sie zbyt dobrze, tym bardziej sprzedal, ale jak czesto w takich sytuacjach pojawia sie aniol stroz w postaci bowiego, ktory postanowil wykerowac Reeda jako fan velvetow, tak w wielkim skrocie wyglada orgin story transformera, nazwa calkowicie na miejscu, bo pod dowodctwem bowiego zostal stworzony kolejny album bedacy ikona rokowosci, w tym wypadku jest to dosc glamowe brzmienie, mocno nawiazujace do stylu boweigo, a czas nagraniowy pokryl sie z ziggowa faza, wiec jak dla mnie zloty okres jego tworczosci, slychac to nie tylko na produkcji i typowych zabiegach, jak zabawy tonami, uciekajacy przy napychjacymi na twarz dzwiekami, ale nawet w samych instrumentalach, czy wokalach, bo samego boweigo mozna uslyszec na niejednym chorku jak na Im so free, ale pajaki z ksiezyca rowniez sie tu pojawiaja, a nawet sam ronson uzyczyl gitarki i skilsow pianinowych, tak bardzo spiderowych, kontent liryczny mozna interpretowac jako punkt zwrotny w karierze i ucieczke przed velvetowym famem czy niefamem, o wiele mniej perwersyjne i kontrowersyjne tektsty, kilka bezposrednich aluzji do warhola i jego wplywu na wczesniejsza tworczosc, dodatkowo wspolnym mianownikiem bedzie kobieta, bo jakas zawsze sie pojawia posrednio lub bezposrednio jako adresat liryki badz glowna postac balladowania, jak na traku walk on the wild side, gdzie przejawia sie kilka portretow roznych ludzi w roznych sytuacjach, dziwnym uczuciem jest to ze ta produkcja bowiego o wiele lepiej sie zestarzala, niz niektorego jego wlasne albumy, mniej skomplikowane aranzacje, nieraz na dwa instrumenty i spokojny baryton Reeda z instynktem studyjnym boweigo stworzylo cos unikalnego jak na album lat 70, polowe albumu juz mam na plejce, wiec dodam tylko Im so free, cala plyta ma tylko 36 minut, wiec i tak po pierwszym traku ciezko wylaczyc przed koncem

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Sun Apr 04 2021
4

This record is cool as sh!t! Only 2nd listen I believe but forgot how bad ass!

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Wed May 12 2021
2

Couple of good tunes but the pseudo poetry and nonsensical lyrics on the other tracks detracted from the overall album.

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Fri Jan 07 2022
2

I've never liked Lou Reed. I don't like this early 70s glam rock stuff in general. This album is no exception to either of those things. 2/5.

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Mon Jan 04 2021
5

A classic album. Reed's best collection of songs, in my opinion, combined with perfect balance of art-rock and pop.

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Wed Sep 23 2020
5

Lou Reed made better records before and after, but ‘Transformer’ has a hold of my heart. From the stellar glam rock production contributions of David Bowie and Mick Ronson to Lou’s subversive tales of the early 70s glam/gay scene, this album is a landmark in queer art.

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Wed Sep 16 2020
5

I have listened to this album MANY times these past few months. Underrated, indeed.

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Sun Apr 11 2021
5

Made for a perfect day

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

Better than I would have expected. Had a thought his voice would be unappealing to listen to and I enjoyed this.

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Mon May 24 2021
5

Awesome album. Heard it multiple timen and can't get enough.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
5

Mixed feelings about this one. Full of massive tunes but I’ve always found the lyrics to be a bit childish or sort of half though out. Don’t think I can give less than 5 stars though.

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

Really nice! Another where I discovered - oh hey, he sings that song.

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Tue Jan 19 2021
5

5

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

Incredible from start to finish, the 70s had so many bangers. Perfect Day is one of my favourite songs of all time I think

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

This has been my favourite one we've had so far. I find it such an original album unlike anything else, even Velvet Underground. It's got some ultimate bangers on it.

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Tue Feb 09 2021
5

Well this was fancy af

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

Perfect album

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Fri Feb 05 2021
5

good vibes nice voice

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Thu Apr 08 2021
5

It’s all over the place and everything works out. Love it.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
5

oh this is goooooooooood. the last one was so great i almost lost my head.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Thought this was really good. I will listen to more of this chap.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

Great album, classic.

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Fri Feb 12 2021
5

Awesome

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Thu Mar 11 2021
5

Lou Reed en estado puro.

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

Perfect Day.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

Classic. I LOVE this album.

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Tue Jul 06 2021
5

could pick holes but it's just great music

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Sat Feb 20 2021
5

👌

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

“Well you know what they say about honey bears, that’s when you shave off all their baby hairs you have a hairy minded pink bad bear.” Yeah I really like this album. Lots of bangers including “satellite of love” I didn’t realise that was Lou Reed

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Mon Apr 12 2021
5

Speaking of loo reads. I was reading 'Being Freddie' by Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff whilst squeezing out the most painful, dark, foul smelling, Guinness shit yesterday. I must say, what a funny and articulate young man he is. To be a world class cricketer, who goes out on the lash at the drop of a ball, try your hand and boxing and they become a national tv treasure, you really have to hand it to the man. I bet he gets the Guinness shits a lot too. By jove, it was brutal, it felt like molten lava pouring out of my soul.

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Sat Mar 06 2021
5

Also in the NME list | I love this album

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Tue Apr 06 2021
5

VICIOUSSSSS

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Thu Feb 18 2021
5

There is really nothing that needs to be said here. One of the greatest of all time

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Tue Feb 23 2021
5

Sensual and flavourful

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Tue Mar 02 2021
5

Wie selbstverständlich das anders sein sein kann, meine tiefe Verehrung für diesen Meilenstein, der auch 2021 noch frisch und anders klingt.

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Wed Mar 10 2021
5

Really nice listen. Had some classic songs and some songs I wasn't familiar with, but all were enjoyable.

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Mon May 17 2021
5

Way better than I thought it would be. Loved almost every song.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
5

One of the greats. End of.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
5

Outstanding, still sounds as cool as you can imagine it did in 1972. Proper forward thinking lyrically as well.

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Fri Jun 25 2021
5

One of my all time faves!

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Sun May 23 2021
5

Great Album.

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Thu May 06 2021
5

Very queer, excellent

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Mon May 31 2021
5

Really liked this. All the way through. 5 stars.

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Thu Jul 15 2021
5

How am I only hearing this album now? I've heard the hits, but this is fantastic. I expected VU kinda stuff. But this really good.

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Fri May 14 2021
5

Done. Short. Good.

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Fri Jul 16 2021
5

Banger

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Sat Jul 24 2021
5

What’s left to say? Sublime … everytime … Hit me with a flower …

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Tue Aug 10 2021
5

This is the album my Dad would have made. Vicious is maybe the best first track I’ve ever heard - just in how it sets up the rest of the album. Blues, rockabilly, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan, beatnick poetry - I heard it all in this one. Music a good, lyric are maybe even better. Great album

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Mon Aug 30 2021
5

Vassar quads, aviators, Luci

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Sun Sep 12 2021
5

Lou Reed just had a way of writing a great song. I don't want to get too pretentious about it, but I really like Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground. Highlights: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 11.

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Sun Sep 12 2021
5

The songs themselves generally sound slow and nostalgic, but the lyrics are very charged with topics such as sexuality. It's an album that I like and might listen to once or twice but not very many more than that due to the uncomfortable element of the lyrics. I really like the songs, however, and they really hit the spot on a lower energy day. Favorite track: Satellite of Love

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

This album is so lovely

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Tue Sep 14 2021
5

Vraiment excellent dans son genre. J’adore. 5

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Mon Sep 20 2021
5

ваще крутой альбом, молодец

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Fri Sep 24 2021
5

Love it.

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Mon Oct 04 2021
5

uno de los discos de la vida

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Fri Oct 15 2021
5

nice

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Mon Nov 01 2021
5

The songs, the arrangements the delivery are all amazing. It's totally understandable why this is considered a classic

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Mon Nov 01 2021
5

Nothing I didn't like on this album, and some all time greats, namely "Perfect Day" and "Walk on the Wild Side."

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Wed Nov 03 2021
5

One of the best rock albums of all time. End of.

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Wed Nov 10 2021
5

Great way to jump things off. I have forgotten how much I enjoyed this. This album has created echos in almost everything I have listened to since.

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Thu Nov 11 2021
5

love this album already - the music still feels fresh and vibrant

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

Fantastic!

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Thu Nov 25 2021
5

Outstanding and massively influential

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

Glam, punk, camp, rock, great

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Fri Nov 26 2021
5

Such a great album! Love his singing style.

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Mon Dec 06 2021
5

So many stunning tracks. I think I held off on Lou Teed because of the hype around how he was the start of indie… but it’s all there. The Strokes, Radiohead, Jack White… I can hear so many garage rack bands in this album. And hearing Perfect Day in its original environment (rather than the Trainspotting soundtrack) was fun. This was a LOT better than expected.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

Super stuff and a worthy addition to anyone's vinyl collection. So many classics on this one. Produced by Bowie and Mick Ronson you can really hear Bowies' influence on his own influencer. Without Lou and the Velvet's their would be no Ziggy, Punk or Grunge I believe. Where so I start with favourite tracks here? "Viscious", "Perfect Day" The Jaques Brel-like "Make Up" "Walk On the Wild Side" "Satellite of Love" and "New York Telephone Conversation" are highlights for me. Definitely worthy of this list and in the top 100 I think. Love it!

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

Classic

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Sun Dec 19 2021
5

Beautiful, just beautiful.

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Mon Jan 03 2022
5

Some incoming personal bias here... I've long been a fan of "Transformer", which sees Lou Reed getting his act together for the first time since leaving Velvet Underground and channelling Bowie's Ziggy-era glam rock (with Bowie and his guitarist Mick Ronson handling production duties). Bowie and Ronson's production is married perfectly to Reed's laconic delivery, to the point where I find myself singing along to a string, piano or guitar part just as often as Reed's vocal. Listen to the acoustic demos (Perfect Day and Hanging Round) and you can hear the impact Bowie and Ronson had on Reed's songs. Without the full production, the songs lack finesse, accentuation- but fully arranged, they are exquisite and often beautiful. The end result is Lou Reed at his most accessible, whether through the out-and-out glam rock of "Hangin' Round", "I'm So Free" and "Wagon Wheel", the effortlessly cool "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Andy's Chest", or the heart-aching ballads of "Perfect Day" and "Satellite of Love". The latter, one of the most plaintive and sweet songs Reed ever wrote, is my highlight on this record: its outro is sheer magic. "Make Up" and "New York Telephone Conversation" are the experiments that don't quite land, but I can't fault Reed for trying something different: at least they stretch the album's sonic mould in an unexpected way with tuba and music-hall piano. "Goodnight Ladies" is a delicious ending track, using the above to full effect for a lounging curtain call off-Broadway. The songs zip by and the whole ride is so enjoyable, so effortless, that it's hard for me to put this anywhere below "classic".

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Mon Jan 10 2022
5

Love Lou Reed. It retains some of the sound of the Velvet Underground, and features some of his best songs.

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Wed Jan 12 2022
5

One of the greatest albums of all time, whimsical, fun and whilst on the surface seeming like a well packaged pop-album it takes on a range of sounds to create a unique sonic texture with masterful production from Ronson and Bowie.

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Tue Jan 25 2022
5

Una tras otra. Chingón

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Sun Feb 06 2022
5

Liked it.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
5

Wow just wow!!!!

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Fri Feb 11 2022
5

Classic album. Real good.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

Is this the most technically proficient album ever made? The most beautiful? Is it even that good musically? No, not really. But that doesn’t matter. I love this album for its unique NY charm and sense of detached cool, carried a lot by the awkward vocals. “Perfect Day” is the song that, for most people, rises above the rest of the tracks, but for me, it’s just part of the suite. Reed certainly had a knack for writing a melody, especially when it came to the chorus. If you haven’t yet, babe, take a walk on the wild side.

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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

Amazing album. Very influential. I can hear why a lot of bands got inspired by his sound.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
5

Yep, good one

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Mon Feb 28 2022
5

Classic.

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Thu Mar 03 2022
5

Glam rock, producido por david bowie, dos de los mejores temas de la historia y otros dos que se quedarán en tu cabeza al instante escuchadlo

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Fri Mar 04 2022
5

Amo esse álbum <3

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Thu Mar 24 2022
5

Great album, love lou Reed

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Wed Mar 30 2022
5

Love Lou Reed. Perfect day, wak on the wild side

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Wed Mar 30 2022
5

9/10 Best Song - Perfect Day

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Wed Apr 06 2022
5

Brilliant. Bowie's backing vocals on Satellite of Love provide one of rock's priceless moments.

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