Street Hassle (Lou Reed – Artist Of The Year Part 10)

Feeling confident with his new record contract Lou Reed decided to start experimenting in the studio. Not with his songs, but with the actual recording. His second album for his new label, Arista, was a binaural recording. This is a method meant to create a stereo effect during the recording process. I won’t go into the technicalities of this process,but will just stick to the songs as they are presented here.

“Gimme Some Good Times” opens the album and sounds as if it  were meant to be a soundtrack or audio snapshot of New York City. The title track is actually three songs, a sort of mini-suite which clocks in at 11 minutes and contains three separate stories. The musical riff is first played on a cello for the first section, then a guitar is the predominant instrument for the second, and a bass for the third (at least initially). This is rock and roll as art, and probably the most “Lou Reed” song of the 70s, if not his career. It is too long to include in this post, unfortunately.

“Gimme Some Good Times”

The songwriting on Street Hassle is much stronger than on his previous few albums. It is almost as if this were meant to be his real debut album. You could say he had some great songs, and yes, Berlin as an album is classic in its own right, but Street Hassle is much more of what we think of as a Lou Reed album than pretty much anything that came before. While the songs themselves may not be the most famous, as an album Street Hassle is easily one of the strongest of his early (pre-1987) career.

“I Wanna Be Black”

Really, if you’re not sure which album to get but wanted to pick up something other than a greatest hits compilation, Street Hassle might be the record to start off a Lou Reed collection with.


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