Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music

Here’s the other last minute BMV find I made…

I first learned about this album when I was reading a book about Lester Bangs. If memory serves me correctly, while everyone else hated on this release, Bangs friggin’ loved it. Of course. Anyway, I sort of had it in the back of my mind that, if I ever saw a copy of this one floating around, I would grab it up just to check it out. And here it is!

And what a cacophony it is. From Wiki: “A departure from the rest of Reed’s catalog, Metal Machine Music is variously considered to be a joke, a grudging fulfillment of a contractual obligation, or an early example of noise music. The album features no songs or even recognizably structured compositions, eschewing melody and rhythm for an hour of modulated feedback and guitar effects, mixed at varying speeds by Reed. In the album’s liner notes he claimed to have invented heavy metal and asserted that Metal Machine Music was the ultimate conclusion of that genre.

The album cost Reed credibility in the music industry while simultaneously opening the door for some of his later, more experimental material. Although panned by critics since its release, Metal Machine Music is today considered a forerunner of industrial music, noise rock, and contemporary sound art.”

From the perspective of “hey, I’m gonna throw on some music and enjoy listening to it,” this album is a raised middle finger to your ears and your sensibilities. If you want structure, lyrics, any sort of sense, you won’t last two minutes with this. However, as an avant-garde art project, as a performance piece, as a statement on the state of music, as a question of what even is music?, this album is surely interesting and smarter minds than mine have already written about it in length.

For me, on a day to day basis, I may never play this album again. We’ll see!

Hit It Or Quit It? Generally quit, but Hit because someday it may speak to me differently.

28 thoughts on “Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music

  1. cincinnatibabyhead says:

    I was huge Lou fan. I buddy of mine picked up on all my banging of the Lou drum and went and bought this album. He’s still mad at me. He put fish guts under the front seat of my car in the middle of summer. Phew!!


      1. cincinnatibabyhead says:

        Without a doubt one of the grosses things ever. We kinda have that kind of relationship. I should see if he still has the original album. He’s probably give it to me plus a few bucks for taking it off his hands.
        I would send him to some real bad films that I got burned on. Saying “If you see one film this year, it’s gotta be this one”. I would chuckle imagining him sitting through the dog of a movie trying to get his head around it.


  2. 1537 says:

    I’ve never quite wanted this enough to buy it – I have heard it all the way through once. I’d use it to help break prisoners down for interrogation.


  3. Vinyl Connection says:

    A fascinating album that I have on vinyl and CD. Pretty fair summation, Aaron. Certainly more in the area of ‘challenging curio’ than anything you’d spin for pleasure. I, for example, have never listened to more than one side at a time!
    Hope to post on this myself one day.

    Liked by 1 person

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