Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

New York (album)

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May–October 1988


Release date
10 January 1989

Lou Reed, Fred Maher


Lou Reed

Rock music, Hard rock

New York (album) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediaenff4Lou

January 10, 1989 (1989-01-10)

Media Sound, Studio B, New York City

New York (1989)
Songs for Drella (1990)

Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance

Lou Reed albums, Rock music albums

Lou reed new york full album 1989

New York is the fifteenth solo studio album by Lou Reed. It was originally released in January 1989, on the label Sire. 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 Moe 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

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." Upon hearing the album, Mellencamp himself said, "Yeah, it sounds like it was produced by an eighth-grader, but I like it."

Critical reception

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

"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."

"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." 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.". In 2006, Q placed New York at No. 26 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".

In 1989, Rolling Stone ranked it the 19th best album of the 1980s. Mark Deming wrote in his allmusic.com 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". The album won gold records in France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Track listing

All tracks written by Lou Reed.


Adapted from the New York liner notes.

  • Lou Reed – lead and background vocals; guitar
  • Mike Rathke – guitar
  • Rob Wasserman – Clevinger electric upright six-string bass
  • Fred Maher – drums on all songs except "Last Great American Whale" and "Dime Store Mystery"; Fender bass guitar on "Romeo Had Juliette" and "Busload of Faith"
  • Additional musicians

  • Moe Tucker – percussion on "Last Great American Whale" and "Dime Store Mystery"
  • Dion DiMucci – backing vocals on "Dirty Blvd"
  • Jeffrey Lesser – backing vocals
  • Production

  • Lou Reed – producer; mixing
  • Fred Maher – producer; engineer; mixing
  • Jeffrey Lesser – engineer; mixing
  • Victor Deyglio – assistant engineer
  • Mike Rathke – mixing
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Spencer Drate – art direction
  • Waring Abbott – photography
  • Sylvia Reed – concept art; creative director
  • Songs

    1Romeo Had Juliette3:11
    2Halloween Parade3:33
    3Dirty Blvd3:29


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