My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Berlin was recorded in London and New York and was released in 1973.
What I think: Berlin starts with Lou Reed’s typical sad sound, which in essence is really beautiful. Things then move to “Men of Good Fortune” and “Caroline Says I” which aren’t happy songs by any means, but they disarm you in their standard rock anger and degrading love song style. They had me thinking I found another Reed album to put on regular rotation. Things get dark fast though and before you know it, you are in the middle of the nightmare of domestic abuse (“Caroline Says II”), a mother losing her children (“The Kids”) and suicide (“The Bed”). We then end things with a revisit to that sad beauty on “Sad Song”. Reed takes us on strange and highly effective trip. I think what I respect the most about it, is the ability to describe a drug dependent, abusive lifestyle without being overtly violent and vulgar. Not that there is anything wrong with using that, but Reed isn’t in this just to shock us, he is here to tell a story and that he does effectively. Shock wears off, telling things the way Reed does is going to stick with the listener.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I’m glad I heard it, I’m glad it’s here. It is certainly a very potent piece of work. I don’t know if I need to revisit it though.
Rating (Out of 5): 4.5
Future Days Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (222/289)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%