One other thing Reed has come to embody: a New York that exists only in memory, a city of unbridled id and romantic sleaze, “something like a circus or a sewer,” as he sang. He connects us to a place where degradation was currency but redemption always in the offing—by some measures, the recipe for a perfect rock song. New York ain’t what it used to be. But as long as we pretend otherwise, Lou Reed will be its mirror.

The Canonization of Lou Reed

© Henning Bertram 2024