Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Lou And Bob Vs. The Kids

In my post below, I agreed with the esteemed mr. Rigby that John Cale´s seventies output has stood the test of time a lot better than the albums his former Velvets partner in crime Lou Reed put out during that decade. I also made one exception, and that´s the masterpiece from ´73 called Berlin.

Leaning heavily on Bob Ezrin´s bombastic but apt production, Berlin is a concept album about a relationship gone horribly wrong due to drug use, depression, violence and adultery. It ends with the suicide of Caroline, a.k.a. the German queen, a.k.a. Lady Day, a.k.a. Mary Queen of Scots, a.k.a. Alaska. Some say the story concerns a ménage à trois, but I could never find any proof to back up that particular theory.

One of Berlin´s highlights is a song called The Kids. It starts thus: "They´re taking her children away... because they say she´s not a good mother." Lou sings it like a guy who knows he´s beaten. He´s - almost - beyond emotion. He´s the ´water boy´, just a tired man who probably made some mistakes too along the way, facing the fact that it all came to this and he was never able to turn back the tide. So he makes a list of all the shit that went down, with the black airforce sergeant, the girlfriend from Paris, the Welshman from India and all the others. Only one time his anger gets the upper hand, when he slurs "that miserable rotten slut couldn´t turn anyone away..."

Late in the song, the kids in question start crying in the background. A truly heart-rending sound. Shivers down the spine guaranteed... "Mommy! Mommeeey!" Producer Ezrin used his own children here, and the story goes he either hit them to get them to cry this way, or (gasp) told them their mother was just killed in an accident. Ethical? Not really, but all is fair in love and war as they say, and Ezrin sure got the result he was looking for.

Lou Reed - The Kids MP3

This post is dedicated to Stooges guitarist and occasional bassist Ron Asheton, who was found dead today. In his memory, here´s Louie Louie from the last ever Iggy & The Stooges show in the Michigan Palace in Detroit back in ´74 - we´ll forget about that ill-advised reunion crap for now. Asheton embodied raw power, guitar stylee.

Iggy & The Stooges - Louie Louie MP3


Sergeant said...

Happy New Year 2011 !

MJG196 said...

The most powerful song in the Lou Reed canon.