Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed
First Appeared in The Music Box, August 2008, Volume 15, #8
Written by John Metzger
Mon August 25, 2008, 06:30 AM CDT
As long as there are record labels, there always will be a regular onslaught of albums that essentially reorganize and regurgitate material that already is on the market. After all, this is an easy and very lucrative method not only of re-elevating an artistís profile but also of squeezing a few more dollars from a catalogue that has reached the outer limits of its sales potential. Earlier this year, Legacy Recordings launched Playlist, a new series of retrospective packages that is aimed at an iPod-dominated world. Already, the rapidly expanding collection of compendiums covers an eclectic array of artists, ranging from Miles Davis to Johnny Cash and from Korn to Kansas.
Lou Reed is the latest performer to receive his own installment in the Playlist series, and like its predecessors, the collectionís hour-long running time hardly does justice to its subject. For starters, Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed boasts a mere 13 tracks, all of which were culled from the first 12 years of Reedís solo career. Within this rather tight restriction, the set admittedly does touch upon most of the right bases, plucking four songs from Transformer and touching upon Reedís work with the Velvet Underground via concert renditions of Sweet Jane and White Light/White Heat. Even so, the outing provides only a cursory examination of Reedís canon. Although it wisely skips over Metal Machine Music, it puzzlingly also avoids delving into The Blue Mask.
Regardless of its focus, the biggest issue with Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed is that, for whatever reason, its material is presented in chronological order. Such an approach might have made sense for a comprehensive retrospective package that was designed to highlight the arc of Reedís career. Given the limited scope of Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed, however, it doesnít appear as if much thought went into the outingís narrative flow. Putting Walk on the Wild Side, Perfect Day, Satellite of Love, and Caroline Says II in sequence, for example, actually undermines their potency. Consequently, although Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed provides a suitable introduction to Reedís solo endeavors, it also fails to find a fresh perspective for reevaluating his work.
Of Further Interest...
Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed is available from
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
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