New York (album)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
New York
Lou Reed-New York (album cover).jpg
Studio album by Lou Reed
Released January 10, 1989 (1989-01-10)
Recorded May–October 1988
Studio Media Sound, Studio B, New York City
Genre Rock
Length 56:40
Label Sire
Lou Reed chronology
New York
Songs for Drella

New York is the fifteenth solo studio album by Lou Reed. It was originally released in January 1989, on the label Sire.[1] A universal critical success, it is widely considered one of his best solo albums. While the defunct Velvet Underground were at the peak of their popularity at the time, Reed's solo career had hit several lows during the 1980s, at least since his album The Blue Mask. However, the widespread popularity of New York reignited his career to the extent that he could revive the Velvet Underground for an aborted world tour.

The album is highly regarded for the strength and force of its lyrical content, but at the time drew criticism for its perceived pedestrian, "truck driver," musicianship. Reed countered that he required simple music so that it would not distract from his frank lyrics. The single "Dirty Blvd." was a number-one hit on the newly created Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for four weeks. Velvet Underground drummer Maureen Tucker played percussion on two tracks.

New York contains CD Graphics that can be viewed on compatible CD players, such as karaoke machines or the Sega Saturn.

Background and lyrics[edit]

Reed's straightforward rock and roll sound on this album was unusual for the time and along with other releases such as Graham Parker's The Mona Lisa's Sister presaged a back-to-basics turn in mainstream rock music. On the other hand, the lyrics through the 14 songs are profuse and carefully woven, making New York Reed's most overtly conceptual album since the early 1970s. His polemical liner notes direct the listener to hear the 57-minute album in one sitting, "as though it were a book or a movie." The lyrics vent anger at many public figures in the news at the time. Reed mentions by name the Virgin Mary, the NRA, Rudy Giuliani, "the President", the "Statue of Bigotry", Buddha, Mike Tyson, Bernard Goetz, Donald Trump, Mr. Waldheim, "the Pontiff", Jesse Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Swaggart, Louis Farrakhan, Oliver North, Richard Secord (misidentified as 'William Secord') and Morton Downey.

Reed also drew inspiration from some of his friends and fellow artists. For instance, in the song "Last Great American Whale," Reed quotes John Mellencamp, referring to him as "my painter friend Donald."[2] Upon hearing the album, Mellencamp himself said, "Yeah, it sounds like it was produced by an eighth-grader, but I like it."[3]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[4]
Chicago Tribune 4/4 stars[5]
Q 5/5 stars[6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[8]
Spin 4.5/5 stars[9]
The Village Voice A−[10]

New York was voted the third best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1989.[11]

"An album which, in terms of descriptive lyrics, may easily be his best to date," suggested Fred Dellar in a top-rated A*:1* review for Hi-Fi News & Record Review. "In some ways it's a small record, merely dialogue set out over the background of two relatively unobtrusive guitars plus bass and drums. But what a dialogue, what a delivery and what a range of targets."[12]

"Whether or not you buy Reed's line about New York being a single integrated experience 'like a book or a movie'," remarked Q in its end-of-year round-up, "this is indisputably one of the landmark albums of an inconsistently brilliant career."[13] In a five-star review of a subsequent reissue, Q's Bill Prince noted that it "signalled the beginning of the defrosting of Reed's Velvet Underground past that has so far marked out his '90s.".[14] In 2006, Q placed New York at No. 26 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[15]

In 1989, Rolling Stone ranked it the 19th best album of the 1980s. Mark Deming wrote in his review that "New York is a masterpiece of literate, adult rock & roll, and the finest album of Reed's solo career." In 2012, Slant Magazine listed it at No. 70 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[16] The album won gold records in France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Lou Reed.

Side one
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Romeo Had Juliette"   3:09
2. "Halloween Parade"   3:33
3. "Dirty Blvd."   3:29
4. "Endless Cycle"   4:01
5. "There Is No Time"   3:45
6. "Last Great American Whale"   3:42
7. "Beginning of a Great Adventure"
Side two
No. Title Length
8. "Busload of Faith" 4:50
9. "Sick of You" 3:25
10. "Hold On" 3:24
11. "Good Evening Mr. Waldheim" 4:35
12. "Xmas in February" 2:55
13. "Strawman" 5:54
14. "Dime Store Mystery" 5:01
Total length: 56:40


Credits are adapted from the album's liner notes.[17]

Additional musicians



Weekly charts[edit]

Chart Peak
Austrian Albums Chart 8
German Album Charts 19
Swiss Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 40
UK Albums Chart 14



  1. ^ "Pop's Angry Voices Sound the Alarm". The New York Times. 21 May 1989. Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Albin Zak (22 December 2000). The Velvet Underground Companion: Four Decades of Commentary. Music Sales Group. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-8256-7242-2. 
  3. ^ Forman, Bill. "James McMurtry on Lou Reed, gun control and why Leonard Cohen must die". Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  4. ^ Deming, Mark. "New York – Lou Reed". AllMusic. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ Kot, Greg (January 12, 1992). "Lou Reed's Recordings: 25 Years Of Path-breaking Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Lou Reed: New York". Q. London (68): 103. May 1992. 
  7. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (February 23, 1989). "New York". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  9. ^ Marchese, David (November 2009). "Discography: Lou Reed". Spin. New York. 24 (11): 67. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 28, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The 1989 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 27, 1990. Retrieved July 29, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hi-Fi News & Record Review April 1989
  13. ^ Q January 1990
  14. ^ Q April 1995
  15. ^ Q August 2006, issue 241
  16. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s - Feature - Slant Magazine". Retrieved 18 January 2017. 
  17. ^ New York liner notes. Sire Records. 1989. 
  18. ^ ^ Jump up to: a b c "Les Certifications (Albums) du SNEP (Bilan par Artiste)".
  19. ^
  20. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". Retrieved 18 January 2017. 

External links[edit]