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Transformer

by Lou Reed

Released November 8, 1972 via RCA Records

Reviewed November 12, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Perfect Day (75%), Walk On the Wild Side (55%), Satellite of Love (45%)

Lou Reed’s second album, Transformer, becomes the latest record of a historically influential career to cross the half-century mark. Transformer came two years after Reed’s departure from the now-acclaimed Velvet Underground, but came before Reed or VU got much shine. While the mainstream hadn’t quite caught on yet, Reed and the Velvet Underground had made a fan out of David Bowie, who would end up producing Transformer alongside Mick Ronson. Helping Reed embrace the burgeoning sounds of glam rock that Bowie would help popularize, Transformer leans into a relatively simplistic sound. Ronson, Bowie, and additional session musicians accompany Reed’s guitar playing with soft and gentle keys, pianos, and string arrangements that make for a very easy listen at almost every turn. Additionally, we see Reed exploring topics such as gender, sexuality, and drug use—and while none of these are firsts for him, he approaches them in a more playful manner than ever before. Reed embraces the campiness and never takes himself too seriously, making Transformer a carefree 37 minutes of fun that still holds up. – Dominick (8.8/10)


On the sleazy and loose side of the pop spectrum sits Transformer. Lou Reed's second studio album was produced by David Bowie and Mick Ronson, with the glam of the two shining through the overall aura of the project. Backstreets and filthy sheets remain a topic on the tip of the gang’s tongue, with subject matter ranging from that of a promiscuous nature to the ever-present love song. A bit of an unruly ethos sits center to Transformer’s pull. An anything goes approach, although things are kept within semi-tight-knit parameters. “Perfect Day,” “Walk on the Wild Side,” and “Satellite of Love” have been well and truly welcomed into the pantheon of perfect pop songs at this stage. Transformer is a bit hit-and-miss, however it's worth sitting through for those songs alone. – Peter (8/10)


Pax: 9.5/10 | Jared: 9/10 | Cam: 8.8/10 | Dominick: 8.8/10

Ben (Synth): 8.5/10 | DeVán: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8/10

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