Jeff Giles
November 29, 1991 AT 05:00 AM EST

Between Thought and Expression: Selected Lyrics of Lou Reed

Current Status
In Season
Lou Reed
Nonfiction, Music

We gave it an A-

It’s not surprising that Lou Reed’s edgy, sardonic lyrics can stand alone — Reed didn’t exactly make his reputation on his vocal talents. What is surprising is the variety here. Between Thought and Expression includes everything from streetlight serenades to apocalyptic visions of New York, from rabid declarations about Ronald Reagan’s America to frank reflections on family, childhood, and loss. Taken as a whole, the collection reveals the arc of Reed’s career. ”The Halloween Parade,” a reflection on the toll that AIDS has taken on New York City, is all the more affecting when you remember that it comes from the man who wrote ”Walk on the , Wild Side.” Between Thought and Expression also includes some of Reed’s prose and an odd interview that Reed conducted with Czechoslovak president Vaclav Havel in 1990. Although the interview is spectacularly tortured and self-serving — ”So you never saw the Velvet Underground?” — it’s a fitting testament to a writer whose raison d’etre is, and has always been, to get in your face. A-

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