Listening to Lou Reed’s transformer. This album my brother listened to when I was around 14 years old. Then it had this tough explicit feel. The picture with Lou in leather with something huge bulging in his pants…. Yesterday I have been listening to this album again and I think that now I have understood what the Transformer in this album really is: New York or any other big city for that matter. A city which lures you in with prospects of a better life, new technologies, but also Freedom with a capital F. This city transforms ordinary town folks into the most outrageous colorful people (as described in Walk on the wild side). This gives the album something cool, powerful and funny. But on the other side there is a much more serious, yes, an even depressed undertone. This becomes clear in Perfect Day where the singer sings that mysterious phrase ‘you made me forget myself’. Another example is the New York telephone conversation which starts with New York gossip, but ends with a clear call for love. The album ends with Goodnight ladies. A late night at a club. Nowhere left to go. Loneliness. What is left to do? Then better get high… I was not even born in 1972, but I feel that this album gives a good reflection of the impact that a city like New York had on people then. With its massive freedoms in all directions and as a consequence people getting lost. People who have become the most beautiful and outrageous butterflies, but still long to be loved.
(produced by David Bowie by the way)