The Raven

Lou Reed

Sire Records, 2003

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa


Lou Reed is an artist I used to hate with passion in the past. I've always told myself if I ever get into his music, then I will have completed my music evolution. Well, as of a few years now, I'm a big Lou fan. One thing I can say is that you need to reach a certain maturity level to understand his music. But once you do, it's great.

The Raven is a very hard album to swallow for anyone who is not exposed to Lou's previous music. It's a very challenging record to get into. But that's also the greatest aspect of this album. It is very deep, and not too commercial -- in fact, it's not commercial at all. It's a record that is addressed to a certain type of listener.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Having been a fan of the artist, I've done some research on him, learned few things about his life. I think it brought me closer to this album, I feel like I know where he's coming from. In a way, The Raven is a perfect follow up to Reed's last album Ecstasy. If this was the first record I've ever heard from Reed I wouldn't know what to make of it. This album completes the chain of the last few Lou Reed releases. In some ways it supplements what the others didn't have. I feel that I haven't lived with it long enough to give it a proper rating, and I hate to label this record based on spur of the moment. This music has to mutate inside me; it's like a virus.

This album is based around the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The record includes Poe readings that enrich the music, which are performed by an all-star cast. The music is very inconsistent, as tries to follow the different moods the writings could produce. At times the album sounds very peaceful, and other times it is very haunting. There's definitely something to it. The Raven has a very neat inner beauty that is only visible upon repetitive listens. It's a record that is worth investigating, but requires certain mood from a listener. In other words, the stars need to align for The Raven to truly shine.

I think it's very ambitious for Lou Reed to take on a project like this -- no compromise, just straight artistic integrity. Nowadays people are scared to do that. I can't wait to see this being performed live to see how will it be approached. Hats off to Lou Reed for still being a pioneer, and for the will to go deeper.

Rating: B

User Rating: B-



© 2003 Mark Kadzielawa and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Sire Records, and is used for informational purposes only.