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I Lou Reed

[center][big]*The Amine β Ring[/big]
[b](exploring [i]Metal Machine Music[/i])[/b]
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In July, 1975, Lou Reed released his fifth studio album, [i]Metal Machine Music.[/i] Reed had made quite a name for himself in the early '70s, especially for his albums [i]Transformer[/i] and [i]Berlin,[/i] which saw him break through to commercial success. But when [i]Metal Machine Music[/i] was released, it flipped Reed's career upside-down and was critically panned upon release. It's widely considered one of the worst albums of all time. It features no songs, no lyrics and some might say, no music as well. Here's a short excerpt of the album below, it's basically 64 minutes of this:
[center][youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TX39I4pOCGg][/center]
The album greatly hurt Lou Reed’s standing in the mainstream, causing him to lose credibility in the music industry for years. Many buyers returned the album to the record stores they purchased it frm, initially because they mistook the noisy feedback that plays throughout it as some sort of misprint in their copy. While critics and fans were left dismayed by the album. Never had an artist made such a drastic shift in their music. Not even Frank Zappa did anything like this! To this day, many still ask the question that remains without any definitive answer: Why? Why would such a respectable artist as Lou Reed make this album? What on Earth compelled him to do it?

Unfortunately, little is known of what Lou Reed's reasoning and state of mind was like during production of [i]Metal Machine Music[/i] as he was the only individual involved in it. The album was recorded in his apartment in New York, Manhattan where Reed set up two guitars on two amps where the feedback loop created between the guitars and amps caused the strings to vibrate so that the guitars were effectively playing themselves. Reed tape-recorded the results, recording lengthy sessions over a period of a couple of weeks. In the end, he had sixteen different recordings, each sixteen minutes long. For each of the LP's four sides, he merged two for the right stereo channel and the other two for the left, creating the chaotic mess of noise that is [i]Metal Machine Music.[/i]

Lou Reed has commented several times on the album, but, in typical Lou Reed fashion, he's given totally different statements regarding what his intentions were with the album. He was once quoted saying "Anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am." While the album's liner notes seem to suggest it's a joke, featuring several absurd lists and claims made by Reed. Among them, that Lou Reed invented heavy metal and that that album was the ultimate conclusion of the genre. Also, describing the album's style as "Rock orientation, melodically disguised, i.e. drag." Yet Reed has also maintained that it was a genuine artistic effort on his part, that he even placed allusions to classical symphonies in the distortion in an attempt to have it released on RCA records' classical Red Seal label. In 2002, Reed would perform the album in its entirety with a ten-piece orchestra and in 2008, he founded a noise/ambient group named after the album, called Metal Machine Trio.

There is some speculation that the album might've been some pre-meditated jab at his record label. Looking back on Reed's fourth album, [i]Sally Can't Dance,[/i] while commercially successful, it was met with a poorer reception than its two predecessors, the aforementioned [i]Transformer[/i] and [i]Berlin.[/i] [i]Sally Can't Dance[/i] was a disappointing experience for Reed due to RCA's meddling with his songs, pressuring him to make a worthy follow-up while also making his music more accessible. The end result was a sub-par album that had minimal involvement from Reed himself. He stated about [i]Sally Can't Dance[/i] "It seems like the less I'm involved with a record, the bigger a hit it becomes. If I weren't on the record at all next time around, it might go to number one." Because of this, it's believed Reed felt that fame and success just wasn't for him, so he made [i]Metal Machine Music,[/i] an album that was the complete opposite of what RCA was looking for, but knew they would be contractually obligated to release any record from him. He would be committing commercial suicide, but in doing so, the label would start distancing themselves from Reed, allowing him to retain his artistic integrity.

The true story behind the making of [i]Metal Machine Music[/i] is an enigma that makes the album more talked about than listened to. But despite being widely regarded as one of the worst albums ever made, it still carries on a legacy. Today, it's considered a progenitor to industrial music and noise rock. It was also Reed's first truly experimental effort, predating many of his later experimental and ambient works he would become just as infamous for. And as mentioned earlier, Reed would even start an improvisational music group called Metal Machine Trio, which, much like the album it's named after, completely counteracted the expectations of Reed's typical rock-oriented audience and prided itself on "No songs [and] no vocals." Some go as far as to call [i]Metal Machine Music[/i] a twisted masterpiece of its time just for how musically defiant and provocative it was.

What's your take on Metal Machine Music and what the story may be behind it? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

Thank you for reading!
bookerdana · M
Many artists have released albums that left people puzzled or even were cause for their record company(s) to sue them(Neil Young,Everybody's Rockin') Now personally I don't care what the critics or artist say and if this is typical of the album II would have tried to return it🤷‍♀️
Loved Transformer,though!
SW-User
I wonder if there's a way of playing it, slow or fast or backwards that would cause it to make sense, because otherwise , nope, just nope!

 
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