Consumer Guide Album
Lou Reed: Ecstasy [Warner Bros., 2000]
Despite a few bloopers, including a love-equals-time metaphor he worked out for a Robert Wilson thingy, this is the album we hoped he'd make the first time we heard The Blue Mask--one of them, anyway. Disillusioned yet again to discover that the object of his affections is almost as fucked up as he is, Reed returns to the scene of his Oedipus complex while Roto-rooting the internal contradictions of enduring romance from every angle he can think of. But there's more regret than rage, and no sense of finality, as if he's been through too much to stay mean. And note that his relationships endure, including the one with Mike Rathke, Fernando Saunders, and Tony Smith, now the longest-running band of his roving career. With Lou's guitar firmly at the helm, they impart something like tragic beauty not just to intended soul-shakers like "Ecstasy" and the 18-minute "Possum," but to the existentialist joke "The Modern Dance" and the cheater's diatribe "Mad"--which I call the most original song on the record even if Reed prefers the one about the white slave and the black master.