“Metal Machine Music” by Lou Reed

Some might argue covering an entire album in the ‘Bad Songs List Court’ section is cheating, but since this album is basically an hour or so of uninterrupted noise collage divided only by the original LP album sides, I think it qualifies as a ‘song’ in itself for this purpose. This is one of the strangest and most unexpected examples of history vindicating a piece of music in the modern era. When Lou Reed first released it, all anyone could see was the perceived absurdity of an album consisting entirely of guitar feedback, and it received universal scorn and spent the next several years appearing on every ‘Worst Albums of All Time’ list of the era. Then, to everyone’s surprise, it wound up being the genesis for a perfectly respectable music genre…Noise Music…and now is regarded with a great deal of respect for its sheer forward-looking innovation. Heard today, it ranks as not only the innovator of Noise Music but probably still the genre’s greatest masterpiece…you wind up listening with amazement as Reed manages to create real, Classical-caliber melodies out of static and feedback alone. Occasionally you’ll find some clown who didn’t get the memo and still regards this album as a laughable failure, but overall, it serves as a reminder of just how thoroughly artistic greatness can be missed in the moment.

Verdict: Good, and it would amaze its first-time reviewers to see how many people today would agree with me.

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