Lou Reed has some languorous tunes that seem to have been written on weekends, alone. There is an isolated tone that makes me think he was scuffling along at dawn after having been up all night ingesting drugs when finally he found his song next to a parking deck or under an elevated train track. It’s the garage band sound when all the other instruments come in, but in his vocals there is a concrete/metallic urban hollowness. Perfect Day is an example. Pale Blue Eyes is another. Finding a friend in the desolation of Saturday morning fumes while opiates are rushing behind your eyeballs…it’s like that.
“to always make love by proxy…How do you think it feels?”
Love, no sex really, separated from the soul, the psyche, the mind and body, is such a hollow thing. It’s a bodily function like burping, voiding, scratching, yawning, etc. We don’t celebrate these bodily functions, but there is something determined in artists across the millenia to celebrate potent love, love that comes with strings of attached comittment. Lou works the other side of the street…waiting for his man, $26 in his hand. Whips and chains, and Sugar Plum Fairies…on the Wild Side. You have to love this guy who was electroshocked as a teenager to defeat his bisexual preferences. I wonder how that electrocutioner lived with himself? He lost, by the way.
On Saturday morning the void opens for the working folks who have stayed preoccupied and numbed by work. Here it is– the terror of free time. What to do with feedom? Sweet Jane addresses that void, I think. Or maybe it’s just a bunch of verbage, an aural Rohrschach test for listeners to project meaning into. (Lou, call me and explain this if you can.) I’m not sure that Lou was working all week in the traditional sense. He’s extraordinarily untraditional, and I respect that. Artists get that exception in my book.
The slavery of work is more comforting. It requires no internal compass. The job justifies all, and decisions roll one after another because the river of busy thought has begun and runs downhill. No consciousness is required beyond falling. In fact, consciousness gets in the way. Mindless work is like an opiate in that it necessitates more of itself. The mindless spend their wages on I-phones and data plans to stalk their mindless facebook friends who are also chained to another employer’s treadmill, waiting for payday so they can buy a thicker chain.
Good God, that sounds bitter. I thought we were discussing Lou Reed songs. And so we were. It’s hard to hold on to your normal while listening to Lou. Question reality or turn off the troubador.