Lou Reed - Growing Up in Public
Feb 17, 2020
63
Growing Up In Public marks a very difficult and awkward point in Lou's career. The '80s in general is seen as the lowest point for Reed's music, but this album in particular shows him at a complete loss for ideas. An album like this really was predictable, seeing as the previous album also showed him losing all creativity by just making a record filled with improvised songs, so an album like this was inevitable.

This record may be Reed's most personal record to date. With songs talking about his upbringing, calling out his abusive father, talking about his relationships, and talking about his addictions, you would think that this would actually end up being one of Reed's most emotional and admirable efforts yet. But then you realize that this album is ruined by an annoying '80s sound, with an over-reliance on synths and just the new hip sound in general, as well as some of his most basic, dumbed-down and cringe-worthy lyrics yet.

Honestly, the lyrics themselves are what disappoint me the most with this record. Lou Reed is one of those artists who, at his best, could make an otherwise boring story seem interesting. He was an amazing songwriter and his vocals had a charm to them that made any song seem interesting, regardless of how mundane the lyrics were. But this album is lacking that charisma from his performance and the writing to make it interesting. The lyrics are far too on-the-nose, lacking all subtlety, and it ends up coming off as him whining about his childhood. The problem with this is that it's clear that that's not what he's doing. He's just bringing to light his own experiences, and these experiences may be interesting to some, but in these songs they're portrayed so dully and it's almost like Lou doesn't know how to bring these topics up in a creative way. It feels more like a casual talk in the street than it does him really trying to hit home what he's telling you. And the instrumentals are just so cheesy. These are basically what you would expect from an '80s rock album, and it's a shame to see Reed fall into this trap that so many other artists fell into. Him trying to sound like he was keeping up with the new trends here ends up making the album feel less interesting and more cliched.

All in all, a pretty disappointing record. The songwriting is some of the worst in Reed's career up to this point, and the cheesy '80s sound makes this one of his most outdated records to date. As much as I appreciate him finally talking about his life experiences, he doesn't do so in a way to make them interesting enough for them to make a good song. There are some decent moments on here, but as a whole it's just a dull, forgettable, and disappointing album.

Favourite Tracks: Growing Up In Public; How Do You Speak To An Angel; My Old Man; So Alone; Keep Away

Least Favourite Track: Think It Over

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