Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Lou Reed: Walk on the Wild Side: The Best of Lou Reed [RCA Victor, 1977]
Released to coincide with another label's publicity push for the new boy, this compilation may evince bad faith, but with (cocompiler) Lou that's part of the artistic statement. In fact, except for an intrusion from Berlin side one epitomizes what I now think of as his "New York conversation" phase--those casual, tuneless, bitchy/ironic/tender monologues endemic to Manhattan. And while side two is less coherent, moving from live Velvets remakes to another New York conversation to a deserving b/w to the surprising sweetness of "Coney Island Baby," it's as good cut for cut as any side Lou's released on RCA. A-