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Entries in Lou Reed (2)

Saturday
Oct042008

The difficult second album

I always laughed at the hoary old phrase 'the difficult second album' which is routinely wheeled out by those reviewers who are reviewing well, a difficult second album. Now I'm not laughing. It's bloody difficult.

I'm currently working on said difficult second album. Well actually it's my fourth, but I'm rather particular about which of my albums I release.

Anyway, the point is, it's proving difficult to finish. Why? I've boiled it down to three issues.

The first is lack of time - living in London seems to do weird things to your diary and keep you away from the studio.

The second is lack of energy: I'm cagey about my age, as once you pass the grand old age of 10 the music industry doesn't seem to want to know about you...but lets just say that when you pass the fucking awful age of 30 (damn!) you lose a bit of your mojo. It's like a musical biological clock starts ticking or something - you want to make records more, but you seem less able to do so. I stress that this isn't equivalent to losing talent - at least I hope not - but it's hard to go at making records hammer and tongs the way I used to when I was a pain-in-the-ass 21 year old (reminds me of Pink Floyd: "and then one day you find...ten years have got behind you". Yuck.).

The third is fussiness: because I mainly produce my own stuff, I am all too aware of my deficiencies behind the desk. Bizarrely I can make everybody else who comes into my studio sound great in 5 minutes, but it takes me bloody ages to feel satisfied with my own music.

But I'm finally getting to that stage where I feel the pieces are falling into place. There are two songs in particular that are turning out very well - 'Lose it' and 'Lou Reed'. The latter was a throwaway song, but it's now actually one of my favourites. But a load of my record still sounds crap. I'm going to be working on this difficult album for quite a while I reckon.

In other news I am currently watching the "top 50 most embarrassing pop moments ever" on BBC 3. Not sure it's the best use of license fee-payers' money, but it's pretty entertaining.

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Wednesday
Jun062007

Desert Island Discs

As you know, I'm currently writing and recording a lot of new material at the moment, and as a consequence, I'm listening to a lot of music, looking for stuff to rip off - I mean influence me.

In the midst of all this I've been thinking about what my Desert Island albums would be - the ten albums I couldn't live without on a er, desert island. And since this is the naughties, I thought I'd post them up here for people to comment on (or ridicule me with). It's impossibly hard to come up with a list. Having made one, I already want to change it (and probably will...)

Anyway, in no particular order:

Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon
Well, this is on most of those greatest albums of all time lists...and I'm not going to dispute its greatness. It's got very dark themes but it's bloody funny at times - particularly when the guy singing 'Money' decides he needs a football team.

The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
At times it sounds like it was recorded in a shed but I love it. My favourite track is 'Sugar Spun Sister'. What a melody.

The Beatles - Abbey Road
This doesn't sound like it was recorded in a shed. It sounds like it was recorded in Abbey Road. I prefer side 2 to side 1, and it contains my favourite Beatles track, 'You Never Give Me Your Money' - a poignant description of the band breaking up.

David Bowie - Ziggy Stardust
Hard call whether tp put this on my top ten list or 'Hunky Dory' but I opted for this one because of the lyrics in 'Five Years'. They are hilarious, particularly the one that goes

I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlour, drinking milk shakes cold and long / Smiling and waving and looking so fine, don't think you knew you were in this song

and the one about the cop kissing the feet of a priest and a gay guy getting sick at the sight of that.

The Stranglers - Rattus Norvegicus
This album is what I call 'chunky', with big fat drums and dirty guitars mixed with sublime organ playing. And it was recorded by the most musical punks ever. I don't think they were punks at all, I reckon they were just pretending because it was cool to be a punk back in 1977.

Paul McCartney - Band on the Run
The first of my 'uncool' choices, but it was a great return to form in terms of melodies and production for Paul McCartney, even if the lyrics about Sailor Sam leave a slightly yucky taste in the mouth. 'Mrs Vandebilt' is probably my favourite track, followed by '1985'.
Lou Reed - TransformerOkay, I'm cool again. Bit of Lou is always good for the cool stakes. Although this album is more camp than cool. I probably listen to this album more than most records...don't know why exactly, it just always seems to suit my mood. Which, given what I've written above, probably makes me out to be camp. Anyway, darlings, this is a great record and it's got Bowie and Ronson production all over it. Lovely.

John Lennon - Walls and Bridges
Despite being a massive Beatles fan, I only got a copy of this album last year. And it's great...sounds fantastic. A load of great session guys making John Lennon go funky. Favourite tracks are 'You Don't Know What You Got' and 'Nobody Loves You When You're Down and Out'. Infinitely prefer this record it to 'Imagine'.

The Seahorses - Do it Yourself
This record was slated when it came out, which I guess makes it the second of my 'uncool' choices. I think everybody slagged it because they were pissed off that John Squire had left the Stone Roses. Admittedly, it does have some daft lyrics on it (about giant squids and Weetabix) but it's also got Squire's fantastic playing all over it, and it's produced by Tony Visconti (Bowie, Bolan et al). What's not to like?

Supergrass - Supergrass
In my estimation this is their best album - it's got some fantastic 70s sounds on it and it's slightly darker than some of their other stuff. Whilst I like Supergrass' sense of humour, sometimes they overdo it a bit and things get a bit silly. That's not to say the record lacks a bit of healthy silliness - that song about Jesus coming from outer space travelling in a second-hand car provides all that. But most importantly the album has some fantastic melodies on it. And big sideburns - you can hear them on most of the songs.