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Lou Reed: New York

Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone, 23 February 1989

NEW YORK is Lou Reed's rock & roll version of The Bonfire of the Vanities. But whereas Tom Wolfe maintains an ultimately cynical distance from the urban disintegration he depicts in his novel, Reed is raging. In Reed's apocalyptic vision of the world's capital as a Boschean inferno, the city's inhabitants have been shocked into incomprehension by homelessness, poverty, AIDS, child abuse, official corruption, racial violence and drugs. At a time when the city's own newspapers routinely evoke Calcutta and Bedlam to describe the Big Apple's rotting condition, Reed's message – powered by a ferocious four-piece band – slams home with the urgency of tomorrow morning's headlines.

Total word count of piece: 952