not exactly the boy next door
He'll tell you tales of horror
He'll tell you tales of horror
then he'll play with your mind
if you haven't heard of him
you must be deaf or blind
(Lou Reed: Edgar Allan Poe)
I have some friends that are big fans of Edgar Allan Poe. This post I address to them: here is a recommendation for Poe's admirers. During the past days, I have been listening to Lou Reed a lot. First, I gather here some very brief info on Reed (1942); though I expect many people know much more about this American musician than I do. Hei, do you know Walk On The Wild Side, Perfect Day, Satelite Of Love? Reed's thingies. However, he expanded the vocabulary of rock & roll lyrics into the previously forbidden territory of kinky sex, drug use (and abuse), decadence, transvestites, homosexuality, and suicidal depression. As has been pointed out less often, he remained (and remains) committed to using rock & roll as a forum for literary, mature expression well into middle age, without growing lyrically soft or musically complacent. By and large, he's taken on these challenging duties with uncompromising honesty and a high degree of realism. For these reasons, he's often cited as punk's most important ancestor. Thus, he is also called ''the father of punk'' (protopunk). It's often overlooked, though, that he's equally skilled at celebrating romantic joy, and rock & roll itself, as he is at depicting harrowing urban realities. Although Reed achieved his greatest success as a solo artist, his most enduring accomplishments were as the leader of The Velvet Underground in the '60s.
Lou Reed is by all means among those that write very good lyrics. Sometimes, he even reminds me on Tom Waits (indeed they are a bit similar). However, as Tom Waits, Reed too collaborated with my favorite theatre director Robert Wilson. I have already been writing on this crazy yet fascinating theatre guy, so I will not repeat myself. For Wilson, Reed composed music for production POE-try. The production took place in 2003 at Thalia Theater, Hamburg, Germany. The production was dedicate to one particular person - Edgar Allan Poe. Yeah, that's why the production was called POE-try...
Wilson is a legend, Reed is a legend, Poe is a legend by all means... they all together made a nice and commercial cocktail... okay, but I will not tackle this fact now. Nice trick to get all sorts of people into theatre, though. I dare to speculate some keen metal fans might have come to the theatre on behalf of good old Poe... Alright, finally, I was able to download Lou Reed's double album The Raven. Which includes the music Reed did for POE-try.
You can imagine this big album is all about Edgar Allan Poe. Lots of his words spoken; theatrical, and actually quite good. Of course, there is Poe's Raven. The whole of its story, beware, interpreted by Willem Dafoe. Okay, the story is slighlty changed... you'll hear, how. There is also almost 9 minutes long spoken piece The Fall of the House of Usher, there is Hop Frog's story (featuring David Bowie)... and so on.
Well, perhaps one cannot write totally objective review/recommendation here if this one is also a fan of Wilson, Reed and Poe... but still. As far as I have been listening to the album, I can say it is special, different... and pretty much artsy. Or at least it tries to be. There are pieces that at first ''glance'' reminded me even on Sun O))), especially when considering spoken interpretation underlined with gloomy soundscape, yet on the other hand, there are also classical rock pieces. Here, I can expose the piece Edgar Allan Poe which is funny and very rocky thingie. So all in all, this album is quite colorful and quite attention dragging. And yes, there are Poe and his attributes pretty much everywhere...