Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fall 2011: New Lou Reed and Beach Boys Records

That's right, it's 2011 and the only interesting records coming out are by the same people who were making the most interesting records 40 years ago. The two are scheduled to be released within hours of each other on October 31 and November 1.

Lou Reed/Metallica: Lulu

I'm trying to keep an open mind with this one, but I fear the worst. The leaked track on Youtube doesn't sound too promising:


What was Lou Reed's loudest song before getting together with Metallica? Probably Kill Your Sons, off 1974's Sally Can't Dance:


Folks, that is one helleva song, off one of the best albums ever. I mean, listen to some of what else is on that album:


Just listen to how that piano, electric piano, and hammond enter and leave. And structurally it's the opposite of Reed's familiar silly-song-turns-serious formula (Coney Island Baby, She's My Best Friend, etc.). He flips it, with the nagging roommate in the outro letting you know this song really was just about an annoying roommate!


The Beach Boys "Smile" (1967/2011)

Well, it's almost here. I admit that I was one of those people who spent a lot of time on the internet ten years ago reading and speculating about this album, then ran out to the record store the day the re-recorded Smile was released in 2004. But that album was frustrating because the instrumentation and certainly the vocals were no match for the original Beach Boys. One could hear the inferiority from the first second of Our Prayer to the frumpy re-record of Good Vibrations.

My opinion of Brian Wilson was unfortunately marred by seeing him perform Pet Sounds live in 2002 in Boston. He was painful to watch, his singing was way off, and his band was of course technically competent but didn't sound good. Apparently he got an entirely new band and started eating his vegetables by 2004, when this impressive performance was taped:

I'm definitely looking forward to the originally recorded version of Heroes & Villains (not the low-fi version from Smiley Smile), which should be outstanding, and of course Mrs. O'Leary's Cow, which won the 2005 Grammy for Best Instrumental, but sounded clinical (and digital!) compared to what I'm hoping for with the original 1967 recording:


It's a miracle that this record is finally being released under the auspices of the guy who wrote the songs and engineered the recording sessions. Get this record and listen to it on a real stereo, not your stupid computer!

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