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Freaky Friday: Metal Machine Music

Posted by purplemary54 on November 1, 2013

It’s just another fun day in the City of Angels today.  (I’m so tired of this.  I’m so tired of blood and bullets and lunatics.  I’m so tired of listening to asshole reactionaries try to defend owning weapons whose sole purpose is to kill people.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: BAN ALL GUNS NOW!!!!!!!)

I guess this makes my choice of music for today’s post even more appropriate.  There is no rhyme or reason to Metal Machine Music.  There is no melody; there is no rhythm.  It’s just noise.

It’s also kind of fascinating.  Almost hypnotic.  Many critics (both professional and amateur) have said that Lou Reed made this album out of sheer perversity, that he wanted to piss off his record company, that he didn’t care about listeners or selling records or anything else.  I’ll buy that last one.  Commercialism was never one of Reed’s priorities.  And having recently had a huge hit with “Walk on the Wild Side,” Metal Machine Music may have been some sort of reaction to his sudden popularity.

Of course, it might have had something to do with being influenced by avant-garde and experimental music, too.  This sounds like the Rock version of John Cage or La Monte Young.  It really is just random feedback, fuzz and squeals that would give me a headache if I turned the volume up any higher.  I wouldn’t have appreciated this when I first heard of it (back in my early 20s, I think).  Hell, I didn’t really appreciate anything Lou Reed did until the last 10 years or so.  But I’m rapidly learning that I was a total idiot.  I’m strangely okay with that.

Last night, my local PBS station aired the American Masters documentary on Lou.  Rock  & Roll Heart is a funny, loving tribute to the man and his music, and I heartily recommend it.  And a small newspaper published this sweet note that Laurie Anderson wrote about her husband’s final days in the place they loved together.  I’m so happy that she shared that with the world.

I just wish the world deserved it more.


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