AC-8499 Street Hassle
Produced by Lou Reed and Richard Robinson
Released on April 1978
US CHART POSITION #89
Find it at GEMM
AC-8499 cover  

A h, the infelicities of the forlorn. They’re a Lou Reed specialty; discussing the best way to ditch a dead body (“Street Hassle”), musing on the advantages of an ethnic change (“I Wanna Be Black”), Reed’s Everyman is blissfully ignorant that he’s out of options. These dark bits of urban storytelling are vintage Lou, which has caused some critics to place Street Hassle in the hallowed hall of his masterworks. As much as rubbernecking at these human car wrecks is interesting, the sloppy performances make immediate appreciation of the album a daunting task. In time, the darting and chaotic “Wait,” the sludgy “Dirt” and Bowiesque “Shooting Star” will slip under your skin, but don’t expect instant gratification. You have to work to enjoy these songs, a point accentuated by the sense that Reed didn’t work all too hard to bring this material to light. Even on auto-cruise, Reed can conjure up living ghosts with the best of them, although the multi-part “Street Hassle” is a clear case of aspiring to something bigger. Street Hassle is an ugly, brutal album at times, but it’s the same sort of challenge Reed proferred on Berlin and New York, two of his best efforts. I’d put this a notch below those works, if only because the Arista years seemed like a half-assed caricature of Hell. Still, the title track has some stunning implications to consider, and the surrounding material works well enough to warrant a flyer from fans warming to Reed’s dark muse.

TRACK LISTING

  1. GIMMIE SOME GOOD TIMES
  2. DIRT
  3. STREET HASSLE
    a) Waltzing Matilda
    b) Street Hassle
    c) Slipaway
  4. I WANNA BE BLACK
  5. REAL GOOD TIME TOGETHER
  6. SHOOTING STAR
  7. LEAVE ME ALONE
  8. WAIT

    All songs written by Lou Reed

CREDITS

return to LOU REED discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US April 1978 Arista LP/CS AB 4169 inner sleeve
UK April 1978 Arista LP/CS SPART 1045  
AUS'L 1978 Arista LP L37205  
GER 1978 Arista LP 1C 064 60445  
NET 1978 Arista LP 5N 058 60445  
US October 22, 1991 Arista CD/CS AC-8499  
UK 1992 Arista CD 262270  

 

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