Letter to the Editor: “Lou Reed”

Leo Rauf
Originally published May 3, 2017


If Lou Reed had gotten his way, we would all be listening to Lou Reed. Music would be an arbitrary word, and the sensible people of this Earth would solely listen to the songs of Lou Reed.

I have considered for many days and nights whether or not I would be able to handle Lou Reed’s world. It wouldn’t take too many “Perfect Day”s to make me blow my own brains out. I’m fragile in this way. But on the contrary, it’s possible that there is a vast universe of music I’m cut off from, and to only listen to earthling music in this universe would be the same as only listening to Lou Reed as an earthling.

Another challenge the Lou Reed universe faces is the possibility that the entirety of Lou Reed’s discography does not capture a large enough scope of the human experience to adequately support the human race. It’s possible that emotional complexities that Lou Reed doesn’t sing about could lose their validation in the public eye and be whittled out of existence.

This idea relies on the belief that certain emotional complexes are only pertinent in society due to their affirmation in music, but is it possible that we wouldn’t still believe that “Fear is a Man’s Best Friend” if it weren’t for the song of the same title written by John Cale in 1974?

In his 1983 album ‘Legendary Hearts,’ Lou Reed sings about some pretty bold subjects—one could argue that this album alone captures the human experience. With songs about “legendary love” and even a guy who hates work, it’s possible that this album could single-handedly record the entirety of the human condition.