Lou Reed needed a musical break into the Pop/Rock culture of the time. Enter David Bowie, who was impressed by both The Velvet Underground (who Reed was a part of) and Lou Reed’s unsuccessful first solo album. Using some of the older material from his days of The Velvet Underground and some brand new material, Lou Reed managed to add legendary guitarist Mick Ronson to his lineup as well. The result? This album was a relative commercial and critically praised piece of work, and is considered a worthwhile listen in the Glam Rock genre which was prevalent at the time. Let’s take a listen to this album and hear what it sounds like.

Vicious begins the album with a neat and groovy piece that is Classic Rock. Lou Reed’s voice is really fantastic here, and he sings in a really ambivalent and different way. Singing about a lover that doesn’t deserve one’s time, and discussing violence, sex and other rather out there themes, Lou Reed sounds really on form here in his solo career setting. A powerful and different Pop/Rock piece of excellence, and extremely catchy, too. A good start to the record, despite the lyrics being rather overly sexist and violent, it is catchy and good for what it is. Good tune.

Andy’s Chest is likely a reference to the Lou Reed collaborator and famous artist Andy Warhol. It begins with some subtle singing, and is a quiet and subdued piece of music that has vivid imagery to go. A weird piece of music, but excellent for what it is, this launches quickly into a good ballad with some awesome sounds, including great backing vocals, this is a nice tune to enjoy. A wonderful piece of music that deserves to be listened to, the lyrics are really quirky, to put it that way. The drumming here is quite good, quite intricate and choppy sounding. A strange and rather unusual tale, but it works well, Lou Reed is an underrated musician. Nice tune for what it is.

Perfect Day is a piano ballad that sounds rather odd at the beginning of it all, and has Lou Reed singing about drinking in the park and doing simple things to make one happy. This launches into a majestic string ballad that is a gorgeous love song, and it has passion and emotion throughout. Nonetheless, this is a good and still fresh listen to this day. A decent and amazing sounding tune, it hits the emotions extremely well. Lou Reed sounds his most emotional here, and does a great job singing along with the piano and strings. A gorgeous piece of lovely romantic based music, this is a winner. “You’re going to reap just what you sew…” is repeated here to the end. Nice work. This ends with the instrumentation playing along nicely.

Hangin’ ‘Round begins with some lean, clean and excellent guitar playing at a mid tempo pace. Lou Reed sings nicely, once again, and he delivers a great piece of music on this album. With some interesting and dirty lyrics about a lady who one is just not interested in pursuing sexually, this is a nice and quirky tune that sounds weird lyrically and fun musically. An excellent listen, this is Lou Reed’s post The Velvet Underground statement that works well, for the most part. Weird and enjoyable to listen to, this sounds cool. A good tune about someone who can’t take a hint, this is another straightforward and okay tune that ends fairly quickly.

Walk On The Wild Side is the most popular Lou Reed solo tune. It begins with double bass, strummed acoustic guitars and launches into a strange piece of music that is very image based and is about a cross dressing man who decides to change their identity. Some openly sexual references are present on this tune, along with a build up to a harmony singing section. Weird and unusual, this is Lou Reed’s defining solo career statement. An enjoyable listen, and something that is worth your ears. This is a tale of tales out there, and the music here is excellent. This is something that is very descriptive and weird, but enjoyable to listen to. An easy listening tune with some weird lyrics at hand, the do-do-do’s return, just before this song ends with a saxophone solo. Good stuff.

Make Up begins with some deep bass lines, tranquil guitar and unusual keyboard. This is a strange tune about makeup and how women use it to promote their own beauty. Again, really weird music, complete with trombone, this is an unusual tune about the Glam Rock lifestyle. An unusual listening experience, this is pretty and short music to enjoy about the way women look, from a straight man’s perspective. Very weird, however. “You’re such a slick little girl…” is repeated, following by Lou Reed mentioning guys coming out of their closets, so to speak. Very odd.

Satellite Of Love begins with some piano, subtle guitar and Lou Reed singing very nicely about the impact that TV based culture impacts on a person. A brilliant and very David Bowie styled tune (unsurprisingly), this sounds really pretty and extraordinary music. The chorus in particular is very quirky. There is some unusual recorder sounding wind instrument in the latter verses, whilst Lou Reed articulates very well this music. Nonetheless, a stunning and gorgeous tune that sounds extra brilliant. There is an instrumental section here with finger clicks, followed by an unusual build up of singing and instrumentation towards the end of this song. Weird and wacky, it ends nicely. Good job Lou Reed and company.

Wagon Wheel begins with a 12 Bar Blues styled section, and has some awesome playing on guitar throughout. Lou Reed sings passionately and wonderfully here, and this tune is a more traditional, yet equally good piece of music to some of the tracks before that has some rather terrible male vs female sexual violence in the lyrics here. Bear in mind, this was the 1970s where women’s right weren’t really prioritised at the time. A great breakdown is here, and this piece sounds really excellent, despite the fact it is hugely sexist and inappropriate lyrically. To be fair, The Velvet Underground was a lot better than this rather sour tasting piece of music. Good, but very dated, Lou Reed shows how shocking he can be. “Wake me, shake me, please don’t let me sleep for too long” is repeated, just before a quick guitar led outro occurs. A bad vibe song.

New York Telephone Conversation is a very short piece of music, and has Lou Reed simply explaining over a piano backing an absurd phone call that he has had. This is a joke, surely? A very weird and unusual piece of music, this surely is a parody of music here. Weird and odd, this is a short and a waste of time as a listening experience. Very odd.

I’m So Free begins with typical 1970s Hard Rock guitars and launches straight into a better tune than what was before it. This is classic Pop/Rock music at its best. Although this is a rather patchy album, this is one of the better songs from this album. A good and decent listening experience, this is a decent three minute long song that works incredibly well. Lou Reed’s voice sounds cool and calm over the top of it all, and this is a good listening experience to enjoy. The guitar solo in the second half is really decent and insane sounding. A nice Glam Rock number to enjoy, the guitar soloing is great, all the way to the fade out.

Goodnight Ladies begins with some slow piano, trombone and Lou Reed singing over the top of it all. A weird and strange piece of music, once again, Lou Reed sings over a waltz styled tune that is bizarre. Some saxophone enters into this piece, and this tune is a bit of social commentary for the time. It sounds like Lou Reed singing Frank Sinatra songs, not the best match musically. Another rather self-parody sort of piece, this isn’t really worth hearing. A strange listening experience, Lou Reed sings about now being the time “to get high” and bidding said ladies farewell, as a result. A weird tune with a really weird set of lyrics, this ends this good but not great Glam Rock album quite well. A weird piece of music, all right. Strange music to hear. It ends quickly.

This is a fairly good album that, although is enjoyable in parts, is very dated and some of the imagery isn’t well thought through. It just sounds very odd and peculiar, and at times outright bad, especially lyrically. Still, this is a fairly consistent listening experience that does have its musical merits. Should you hear this album? Only if lyrics aren’t really your thing, and you like Glam Rock of any sort. Still, it’s a good album, just not a great album.

Weird, wonderful and sexually confused.