LOU REED – ” Ecstasy ” Released 4th April 2000

Posted: April 6, 2020 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Lou Reed - Ecstasy

“Ecstasy” is the eighteenth solo studio album by American musician Lou Reed, released in 2000. It is a concept album about Reed’s personal experiences with marriage and relationships and is his final rock album

Ecstasy is even more impressive. Dominated emotionally by dark songs about extreme sex and relationships gone sour, it will once again be linked to Anderson, even though many of its details diverge radically from what everyone knows about the couple’s life together — that they have no children, for instance. Resist the impulse to turn music into gossip and hear Ecstasy for what it is  a complex, musically gorgeous synthesis of the obsessions that powered Reed’s failed 1973 Berlin and his great marriage albums of the early Eighties, especially The Blue Mask.

Since happy love is much rarer in good art than it is in good lives, Twilight remains moderately miraculous — far from innocent of struggle and doubt, it’s nevertheless the most openhearted, sweet-tempered record Reed has ever put out there. It was only a moment, though, and on Ecstasy he says hello to his old demons. Masking profound rage with bitchy back talk, Reed’s romantic egotism has always doomed his personal and artistic commitments — he needs new sensations. But perhaps because he’s put in two decades as an attempted mensch, first with ex-wife Sylvia Morales and then with Anderson, his demons now sometimes seem more like daemons, geniuses, as on the passionately impenetrable title song, which is about a soul-shaking sexual adventure by or with a mythified someone who could be rough trade or a prominent New York performance artist. On the amazing “Mad,” Lou’s tirade after he’s caught cheating — “You said you’re out of town for the night/And I believed in you/I believed you” lays open the asshole he knows himself to be without apologizing for his base-line arrogance. And the impossible marriages of “Tatters” and “Baton Rouge,” both carefully fictionalized, are sketched with the kind of intimate incidental detail only appreciated by someone who has learned from experience how specific relationships are.

Add several paeans to the perverse — among them a hopeless declaration of sexual indenture and a moaned and shouted eighteen-minute noisefest, and three off-message changes of pace that include a slave’s freedom rant and an upliftingly spiritual closer — and the complexity of Reed’s conception should be clear. Words, however, are truly only half of it. Understandably, Reed’s old fascination with sadomasochistic transcendence puts off those who don’t swing that way at least a little. But the music on this record, its gorgeous part, could change that.

Together with his longtime guitarist Mike Rathke and the ever-more-fluid bassist Fernando Saunders, Reed has gradually adjusted his trademark minimalism toward a body-friendly responsiveness. The guitar hooks on “Mad” and “Ecstasy,” far less trebly and staccato than the Velvet Underground norm, render those demented statements rather beautiful — touching and vulnerable alongside hateful and proud. And while the timbre of Reed’s Sprechgesang will never again be as supple as in his moments of youthful lyricism, like “Pale Blue Eyes,” his sere thoughtfulness here is at least as tender — his perspective seems like mature understanding rather than neurotic distance. If rock is to be an art form — and, come on, it’s earned the option — best it should honor life’s physical reality as unmistakably as this music does. Let his fellow big shots respect him. Us guys’ll just give him R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Heavyweight Double LP reissue of Lou Reed’ s 18th and final (non-collaborative) solo rock album “Ecstasy”, Originally released in 2000.

Never let it be said that Lou Reed has lost the ability to surprise his audience; who would have thought that at the age of 58, on his first album of the new millennium, Reed would offer us an 18-minute guitar distortion workout with lyrics abut kinky sex, dangerous drugs, and (here’s the surprise) imagining what it would be like to be a possum? For the most part, Ecstasy finds Reed obsessed with love and sex, though (as you might expect) his take on romance is hardly rosy (“Paranoia Key of E,” “Mad,” and “Tatters” all document a relationship at the point of collapse, while “Baton Rouge” is an eccentric but moving elegy for a love that didn’t last) and Eros is usually messy (“White Prism”), obsessive (“Ecstasy”), or unhealthy and perverse (“Rock Minuet”). Reed genuinely seems to be stretching towards new lyrical and musical ground here, but while some of his experiments work, several pointedly do not, with the epic “Like a Possum” only the album’s most spectacular miscalculation. Still, Reed and producer Hal Wilner take some chances with the arrangements that pay off, particularly the subtle horn charts that dot several songs, and Reed‘s superb rhythm section (Fernando Saunders on bass and Tony “Thunder” Smith on drums) gives these songs a rock-solid foundation for the leader’s guitar workouts. As Reed and his band hit fifth gear on the album’s rousing closer, “Big Sky,” he once again proves that even his uneven works include a few songs you’ll certainly want to have in your collection — as long as they’re not about possums.

Track 4 from his eighteenth solo album “Ecstasy” released in 2000 copyright Sire Records. This album was his last solo release before his death in 2013. It was well received by critics as another strong album, some say his “masterpiece.” Written by Lou Reed and produced by Lou Reed & Hal Willner. RIP Lou & Don Alias. Featuring: Lou Reed – Lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, percussion on “White Prism” Mike Rathke – Lead & rhythm guitars Fernando Saunders – Bass & background vocals Tony “Thunder” smith – Drums, percussion & background vocals Special Guests: Don Alias – Percussion on “Ecstasy” Laurie Anderson – Electric Violin on “White Prism”, “Rouge” & Rock Minuet” Steven Bernstein – Trumpet & horn arrangements Doug Wieselman – Baritone & tenor saxes Paul Shapiro – Tenor sax Jane Scarpantoni – Cello

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