"Think It Over" (1980) This gem got buried on the otherwise dull Growing Up In Public, setting the tone for the love songs Lou would pursue over the next couple of decades. He asks the woman to marry him. She wonders if he knows what he's getting into. ("When you ask for someone's heart / You must make sure you're smart.") He wants to rush, but she tells him to cool it down and think it over. Love is like a lot of other addictions – first thing you learn is that you always gotta wait.
"The Heroine" (1982) The Blue Mask has been a source of comfort and sustenance for me over the years, though it probably wasn't for Lou Reed. Teaming up with his toughest band since the Velvets, he takes on the terrors of monogamy. But this is him solo, voice and guitar sounding frail, taking his Velvets death trip "Heroin" somewhere different. What comes is better than what came before.
"Legendary Hearts" (1983) "Legendary loves haunt me in my sleep. Promises to keep, I never should have made. I can't live up to this. I'm good for just a kiss. Not legendary love." Anybody who makes his or her bed with another person knows what that late-night fear feels like. But Lou sings about it with the same fierce honesty he brought to any other topic. And his guitar interplay with the late great Robert Quine adds an air of autumnal wisdom.
"Bottoming Out" (1983) His account of a troubled marriage on Legendary Hearts is surprisingly specific, as "Martial Law" and "Don't Talk To Me About Work" get into the details of the basic problem: how to stop taking out your petty grievances on whoever you live with. ("Try not to take the garbage of the day any place but outside.") "Betrayed" is about not taking it personally when they lash out at you. And "Bottoming Out" is when the arguing won't stop, so you go for a motorcycle ride to clear your head, except you get wasted instead and then back on your bike and it all goes bad because this is a Lou Reed song, remember? No cheap happy endings around here, but loads of guitar.
"New Sensations" (1984) Lou makes poetry out of the mundane details of an ordinary bike ride: "I rode to Pennsylvania near the Delaware Gap / Sometimes I got lost and had to check the map." (It's the epitome of what Lester Bangs called "the Lou Reed 'I walked to the chair / Then I sat in it' school of lyrics.") The sound aims for synth-pop grandeur – it sounds like Depeche Mode, from the time when Depeche Mode were vowing "I will be a satellite of hate" on A Broken Frame.
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