Lou Reed — Transformer

While Transformer may be the single album that put Lou Reed over as a solo artist after his departure from the Velvet Underground, and is almost certainly his most widely known work, it is also extremely overrated. Its popularity can be attributed to its marketability as a token of crypto-homo early glam, as well as because of its association with collaborator and producer, David Bowie. The album is so desperate to revel in the brief but infinitely kitschy “sexually ambiguous popstar” phenomenon of the early seventies that it seems totally oblivious to its overall suckiness. Lou Reed, unlike Bowie, doesn’t need some massive gimmick to write good songs, and yet on Transformer he puts together a bunch of weak songs about putting on make-up and stuff; burying his talent behind Bowie’s glittery, tuba-laced production. Transformer’s new expanded re-release should probably do okay, so hopefully there will be better Lou Reed re-releases to follow.