“Coney Island Baby” by Lou Reed - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1975Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

Had I been around back in December’ 75, I’d have been pretty pissed off with Lou Reed by now. After his seminal works with the Velvets and a couple of terrific solo albums in “Transformer” and “Berlin”, he was really starting to become a bit of a bore. Live sets such as “Rock n Roll Animal” and “Lou Reed Live” were completely lame, “Sally Can’t Dance” was, at best, patchy, and his preceding effort, July’s “Metal Machine Music”, was a white-noise joke. Frankly, he was rolling all over the place, with no direction home. This latest effort was, on the surface, a “play the game” concession, as Lou is backed by a group of oh-so conventional session rockers. The one saving grace is Lou himself though; his vocal style continues to be effortlessly cool, as he drags and drawls it all around, with those affections which are uniquely his. Single-handedly, he lifts the set out of the mediocre and into the realms of a perfectly acceptable good ‘un.

The album gets off to a poppy 1-2 starter with the larger-than-life chiming bells of “Crazy Feeling” and “Charley’s Girl” which comes complete with a set of ooh-la-la backing vocals which could turn perfectly healthy people sick. I rather suspect he’s in love, but Lou’s vocal is an effective antidote to the sugar. “She’s My Best Friend”, an unreleased VU-era song, gets its first recorded outing, and is re-invented as a soft-rocker, keeping in-tune with the surprisingly lovey-dovey vibe of the album. Closing side 1, “Kicks” absolutely jumps out of the speakers – it’s like an old friend has snapped out of a long period of uncharacteristic behaviour; the song, built on a lightly-funky repetitive guitar loop, seems to be set in some sort of house party, centred on a psycho who casually chats about how he likes to get his kicks through murderous gore. It’s not clear if the conversation is two-way, although there are random bursts of other conversations abruptly invading your space at TWICE the volume – an old trick which was employed to great effect on the VU’s “Lady Godiva’s Operation”. “Coney Island Baby” sums up what this album has really been about – his Coney Island Baby was Rachel, his new transgender lover who’d be around for the next couple of years: “Just remember different people have peculiar tastes and the glory of love might see you through.” Well, I never. In 1975, that was at least 50% of his potential sales gone right away. Their loss.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [02:54] 6.8.png Lou Reed - Crazy Feeling (Lou Reed) Cerebral Pop
A2 [02:34] 6.3.png Lou Reed - Charley’s Girl (Lou Reed) Cerebral Pop
A3 [05:58] 6.2.png Lou Reed - She’s My Best Friend (Lou Reed) Soft Rock / A.O.R.
A4 [06:02] 7.1.png Lou Reed - Kicks (Lou Reed) Rock
B1 [03:43] 5.7.png Lou Reed - A Gift (Lou Reed) Soft Rock / A.O.R.
B2 [03:45] 6.9.png Lou Reed - Ooohhh Baby (Lou Reed) Rock
B3 [03:42] 5.6.png Lou Reed - Nobody’s Business (Lou Reed) Alternative Country
B4 [06:36] 9.3.png Lou Reed - Coney Island Baby (Lou Reed) Soft Rock / A.O.R.

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