Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lou Reed: Street Hassle [Arista, 1978]
I know Lou worked his ass off on this one, but he worked his ass off on Berlin, too--like so many of his contemporaries, maybe he's better off not aiming for masterpieces. The title sequence honors Eros as much as Thanatos, a heartening development, and I'm a belated convert to "I Wanna Be Black," which treats racism as a stupid joke and gets away with it. But the production is muddled and the self-consciousness self-serving. B+