Search - Lou Reed :: Set the Twilight Reeling

Set the Twilight Reeling
Lou Reed
Set the Twilight Reeling
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
  •  Track Listings (11) - Disc #1

Once every decade the ice-cold, bug-eyed Lou Reed gets all soft and mushy--he falls in love and feels like singing to the world. Back in 1976 he made Coney Island Baby, a warm and tender love letter to his transvestite par...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Lou Reed
Title: Set the Twilight Reeling
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Warner Bros / Wea
Original Release Date: 2/20/1996
Release Date: 2/20/1996
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock, Classic Rock, Metal
Styles: Singer-Songwriters, Album-Oriented Rock (AOR)
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 093624615927, 093624615941, 936246159274

Once every decade the ice-cold, bug-eyed Lou Reed gets all soft and mushy--he falls in love and feels like singing to the world. Back in 1976 he made Coney Island Baby, a warm and tender love letter to his transvestite partner, Rachel. In 1984 it was New Sensations, about rediscovery, adulthood, and hetero love with wife Sylvia. In 1996, though, Reed may have met his ultimate match in his new girlfriend and obsession: performance artist Laurie Anderson. Set the Twilight Reeling bubbles with a whole batch of new sensations, making it one of Reed's brightest and friendliest records in years. More often than not on Reed's albums, the subject matter is dour and he decides to talk his way through, as if singing would distract from the heaviness of it all. But on Set the Twilight Reeling (as with his past love-puppy albums), melodies abound: "NYC Man," "Trade In," "Hold On to Your Emotions," and the title track are all touchy-feely pop songs (by Reed's standards), complete with acoustic-guitar or jazz chords and aw-shucks lines like "I want to make her my wife" and "I accept the newfound man." Of course, it's not all goo-goo and ga-ga. Reed also takes a vicious--albeit viciously funny--stab at the GOP's prudish hypocrisy ("Sex with Your Parents") and remembers his late Velvet Underground cohort Sterling Morrison in a stark elegy that would have fit well on his elegiac Magic & Loss ("Finish Line"). But by the end of Twilight, with songs as sweet as "Egg Cream" and goofy as "HookyWooky," we're simply left kvelling over Reed's true and lasting love. And though we may not really care, Reed's romantic discovery--after all--cuts to the essence of what rock & roll's all about. --Roni Sarig

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CD Reviews

Lou Reed makes nice & for once, he convinces us it's real!
29-year old wallflower | West Lafayette, IN | 04/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"By 1996, Lou Reed had acclaim and status most other veteran artists could only dream about. At 54, Reed had been on a creative upswing since 1989's remarkable comeback NEW YORK & its deeper, darker 1992 follow-up MAGIC & LOSS. While the last album was recorded in the wake of two tragic deaths in Lou's life, afterwards, he may have found a way to smile again, for that's the mood most prominent on 1996's SET THE TWILIGHT REELING.

Lou had taken up with fellow musician Laurie Anderson & SET THE TWILIGHT REELING was a lot like his musical love letter to her. While some would claim Lou's periodic journeys into unabashed melody are forced & unconvincing (1976's CONEY ISLAND BABY & 1984's NEW SENSATIONS are often the subject of this criticism, although I love them both), for TWILIGHT, Lou seemed to have gotten it right. Even for someone who fell for the darker side of Lou's output first, I have no objection to saying this is one of Lou's best later albums.

Make no mistake, Lou is in love, for songs like "NYC Man", "Trade-In", "Hang On To Your Emotions" & the title track are clearly coming from a man whose heart has been stolen. Some may think the songs are a little too mushy by Lou Reed standards, but I think they're quite sweet, and it's refreshing to see a rather dark, introspective artist like Lou feel happy for once. Even less romantic songs like "Egg Cream" & "Hookywooky" are infectiously catchy, and if popular music hadn't been (and still is) in a state of youth fever, these songs could bring Lou back to the charts (he was never a regular in the first place).

But even on a light affair like TWILIGHT, the old curmudgeonly Lou makes an appearance. "Sex With Your Parents" is a positively vicious & wickedly funny indictment of conservative politics, which for a recently-turned liberal like me now rings truer than before. Shockingly, this song was dared to be released as a single, which I'm sure in the Clinton era would only have received such a luxury. Today, a song like this would never make it onto a DJ's playlist.

Lou's former Velvet Underground bandmate Sterling Morrison passed away at the time of TWILIGHT, and Lou gives him a touching tribute on "Finish Line". The atmosphere of the song is dark enough to have found its way onto MAGIC & LOSS, but it's clear that Lou is celebrating life rather than mourning death, similar to his album-length tribute to mentor Andy Warhol, 1990's SONGS FOR DRELLA.

While SET THE TWILIGHT REELING has been given a cool reception by most reviewers, they're probably so much more accustomed to Lou Reed's bleaker material that they can't conceive of the fact a man like him can be upbeat. Reed's last "nice" album NEW SENSATIONS was mired in 1980s electronics that, while endearing, was still from a time when Lou was shooting more for the charts than listeners' hearts. It's great to see Lou finally find the love of his life, and hopefully he'll return to such a bright sound like TWILIGHT again, even after he went back to the darkness for 2000's ECSTASY & 2003's THE RAVEN. I'm sure it will happen, for even at 61, Lou Reed is one veteran artist not keen to retire to the oldies circuit so soon."
Ignore the scoffers; this is one of Lou's best.
appassionata_1804 | 06/04/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Many Lou Reed fans would confine him to the dour subject matter of "Berlin" or the bad-ass histrionics of "Rock n' Roll Animal." His true fans realize and appreciate that Reed the streetwise poet is the same man who wrote such beautiful Velvet Underground songs as "I'll Be Your Mirror" and "Who Loves The Sun." Yes, as some have resentfully pointed out (living in the past, anyone?), this is a softer, more tender collection of Reed tunes, a portrait of a man who has found some peace with a new love. What is wrong with that? Well, when the songs are this good, absolutely NOTHING! "Egg Cream" rocks out, pure fun in the form of loud guitars. "NYC Man" is a sublime look at romantic hesitancy, with hints of doo-wop and '60s soul. Love those horns! "Finish Line" is a riveting, inspiring tribute to late VU guitarist Sterling Morrison. This song shows Reed's lyrical powers at full strength. Even on this disc, not all is sweetness and light. So much of "Twilight"'s strength lies in its ambiguity. "Hooky Wooky" is a rousing, darkly mischievous number in which Lou confesses his desire to throw girlfriend Laurie Anderson's former lovers "under the wheels of a car on Canal St." "The Proposition," which is one of several love songs here, also contains the striking line, "Somewhere there's a vaccine that needs AIDS." Our favorite sneering New Yorker has not lost his sense of tragedy. He has merely supplemented it with a heart, making "Twilight" a rich, rewarding effort. Reed is still capable of writing "Heroin" and "Caroline Says"; by now, he could probably write such songs in his sleep. Instead, like most valuable artists, he has chosen to grow and expand. Lou Reed is a great American songwriter who has kept his edginess but also added some warmth. Ignore the fans who are stuck in 1973!!! Check out some prime Reed with this exhilarating album!"
As the twilight sunburst gleams, As the chromium moon it set
Mike | San Jose, CA | 05/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Here's the deal, my friends. The title track for this album is one of the best Lou's ever written...period. When the time comes to separate his "genius" from the hype, this is a "genius" track. It's poetry on the level of Dylan or Hendrix or Morrison. As he does with every other song he's recorded, he's mangled it in concert and missed the point of the original. How many times are you going to play "Egg Cream" or "Sex With Your Parents?" If you're like me, not many. Will the song "Set The Twilight Reeling" find a place on my Lou Reed ultimate mix CD? Better believe it, Jim. The days of Lou Reed having something to prove are long gone. Anyone expecting an album of ten or twelve perfect and transcendent tracks is an idiot. One killer track per album is still something to celebrate. "Set The Twilight Reeling" is that track."