Magic and Loss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Magic and Loss
Magic and Loss (Lou Reed) album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 14, 1992
RecordedApril 1–27, 1991
StudioThe Magic Shop, New York City
ProducerLou Reed, Mike Rathke
Lou Reed chronology
Songs for Drella
Magic and Loss
Between Thought and Expression: The Lou Reed Anthology

Magic and Loss is the sixteenth solo studio album by American musician Lou Reed, released in January 1992 by Sire Records. A concept album, it was Reed's highest-charting album on the UK Albums Chart, peaking at No. 6.[1]


It's my dream album, because everything finally came together to where the album is finally fully realized. I got it to do what I wanted it to do, commercial thoughts never entered into it, so I'm just stunned.

Lou Reed, explaining his satisfaction with the album.[2]

Magic and Loss was originally intended to be primarily about themes of magic after hearing stories about magicians in Mexico. However, when tragedy struck during the writing process, Reed expanded the album's focus to themes of loss and death as well.[3] Inspired in part by the illnesses and eventual deaths of two close friends, Magic and Loss was written for songwriter Doc Pomus, who had given Reed his start in the music business some 25 years earlier,[4] and a woman Reed has identified as "Rita", popularly assumed to be Rotten Rita, who along with Reed was a familiar figure at Andy Warhol's studio, the Factory, in the mid-to-late '60s.[5] Photographs of Pomus and a woman's face can be seen at the center of the lyric booklet included with the CD release.[6]

Jazz singer Little Jimmy Scott performs backing vocals on track 3, "Power and Glory". Reed's live performance of the album filmed on March 18, 1992 at Pinewood Studios in London, England, was released on VHS and LaserDisc.[7]

The single "What's Good"/"The Thesis", released in March, was Reed's second number-one hit (after "Dirty Blvd.") on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart,[8] occupying the top spot for 3 weeks. The 12" version of the release contained Reed's reading of "Harry's Circumcision" and "A Dream". A longer version of "What's Good" was previously released on the 1991 soundtrack album to the Wim Wenders film Until the End of the World.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[10]
Chicago Tribune4/4 stars[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[12]
Entertainment WeeklyB−[13]
Orlando Sentinel4/5 stars[15]
Q4/5 stars[16]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[17]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[18]

Magic and Loss was voted the 16th best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1992. Robert Christgau, the poll's creator, disapproved of the voters' support of an album he felt was a "failed concept" marred by Reed's uninteresting views on death.[20] Christgau gave it a "neither" grade in his own review, indicating an album that does not warrant repeated listening despite coherent craft and one or two highlights.[21] In a positive review, Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune said that the album shows "a great rocker at the peak of his powers: Striking tunes, gripping lyrics, honest emotion stripped of melodrama."[11]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Lou Reed, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Dorita - The Spirit" – 1:07
  2. "What's Good - The Thesis" – 3:22
  3. "Power and Glory - The Situation" (Lou Reed, Mike Rathke) – 4:23
  4. "Magician - Internally" – 6:23
  5. "Sword of Damocles - Externally" – 3:42
  6. "Goodby Mass - In a Chapel Bodily Termination" – 4:25
  7. "Cremation - Ashes to Ashes" – 2:54
  8. "Dreamin' - Escape" (Reed, Rathke) – 5:07
Side two
  1. "No Chance - Regret" – 3:15
  2. "Warrior King - Revenge" – 4:27
  3. "Harry's Circumcision - Reverie Gone Astray" – 5:28
  4. "Gassed and Stoked - Loss" (Reed, Rathke) – 4:18
  5. "Power and Glory, Part II - Magic - Transformation" (Reed, Rathke) – 2:57
  6. "Magic and Loss - The Summation" (Reed, Rathke) – 6:39


Credits are adapted from the Magic and Loss liner notes.[22]

Album Design-Spencer Drate,Judith Salavetz,Sylvia Reed

Photography-Louis Jammes


  1. ^ "The Official Charts Company - Lou Reed - Magic and loss". The Official Charts Company. DistantStar. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  2. ^ Johnstone, Nick (April 7, 2010). Lou Reed 'Talking'. London, United Kingdom: Omnibus Press. p. 89.
  3. ^ Reed, Lou (December 9, 2008). Pass Thru Fire: The Collected Lyrics. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. p. XXIII. ISBN 978-0-306-81630-7.
  4. ^ "World Cafe Remembers Lou Reed". NPR. October 29, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  5. ^ Greenman, Ben (October 28, 2013). "A Clipper Ship of Lou Reed Songs". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved March 3, 2014.
  6. ^ Magic and Loss (CD Booklet). Los Angeles: Sire Records. 1992.
  7. ^ "Lou Reed – La Edad de Oro (Pignon-095)". Collectors Music Reviews. October 18, 2011. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  8. ^ Molanphy, Chris (November 1, 2013). "Embrace and Repel: Lou Reed's Chart History". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  9. ^ DiGravina, Tim. "Until the End of the World - Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved March 2, 2014.
  10. ^ Deming, Mark. "Magic and Loss – Lou Reed". AllMusic. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Kot, Greg (January 12, 1992). "Lou Reed's Recordings: 25 Years Of Path-breaking Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  13. ^ Zacharek, Stephanie (January 17, 1992). "Magic and Loss". Entertainment Weekly. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  14. ^ Barker, Emily. "21 1990s Albums NME Has Given 10/10". NME. London. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  15. ^ Gettelman, Parry (January 24, 1992). "Lou Reed". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  16. ^ "Lou Reed: Magic and Loss". Q. London (65): 87. February 1992.
  17. ^ Fricke, David (January 23, 1992). "Lou Reed: Magic And Loss". Rolling Stone. New York. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  18. ^ Hull, Tom (2004). "Lou Reed". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 684–85. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  19. ^ Cavanagh, David (February 1992). "Lou Reed: Magic and Loss". Select. London (20): 66.
  20. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 2, 1993). "Pazz & Jop 1992: Between a Rock and a Hard Place". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (2000). Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s. Macmillan. pp. xvi, 264. ISBN 0-312-24560-2. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  22. ^ Magic and Loss (CD booklet). Lou Reed. Sire Records. 1992.CS1 maint: others (link)

External links[edit]