Ecstasy (Lou Reed – Artist Of The Year Part 22)

With this album that comes four years after Set The Twilight Reeling, an album about Lou Reed’s newfound adulthood love that made him feel like a child again, we get a return to the two guitars, bass and drum format  that was largely absent on the previous album. Here Lou Reed employs a second guitarist to help him out, and there are, like the previous album, some embelishments in the form of other instruments, but for the most part this is a straight-forward rock album by Lou Reed, you get exactly what you expect.

Actually, this was the last “Lou Reed” album (if you think about what a Lou Reed album would sound like. The next few releases would be very different.

The first few songs don’t really stand out, but if you listen to them separately, outside of the context of the album itself, they are great examples of Lou Reed’s late career. Solid musicianship that serves as a driving force for the lyrics.

“Future Farmers of America”

There is a happiness in Lou Reed’s personal life that shows up, but he still has some issues to get off his chest. At times the music is soft, ballady, other times it is in your face. In using the standard rock and roll format Lou Reed is using a lot of different tools at his disposal to tell his stories. Many of them this time around are from a first-person perspective, a clear departure from his earlier works.

There are two pieces on Ecstasy that could be counted as the greatest in his career. The first is the seven minute “Rock Minuet” which is classic Lou Reed storytelling. Then there is the eighteen (yes, 18) minute “Like A Possum” and is rock and roll as art fusing the poetry with the guitar.

“Rogue”

As if to cleanse the palate from the lengthy “Like A Possum” immediately after that track we get “Rogue” a one minute instrumental featuring Laurie Anderson on her electric violin. Then the album closes with a poetically rocking number.

Ecstasy is a brilliant album that wasn’t meant to be Lou Reed’s final solo rock album, but it is, and it wasn’t his final work – which for his career, is extremely appropriate.

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