Lou Reed Has Died at Age 71, The World Is Officially Less Cool
The figurative flag of rock music is at half-mast today: It's been confirmed that Lou Reed has died at the age of 71, of causes that are being assumed to have something to do with the liver transplant he had last May. Regardless of the cause, the world has lost an icon, and the level of cool on Earth is now palpably lower as a result.
Having gained a cult following as the lead songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist of The Velvet Underground, Reed never hit huge commercial success, but that didn't stop him from becoming a musical legend — his songs "Walk on the Wild Side" and "Perfect Day" are still considered classics.
In the wake of the passing of an icon one of the best ways for the public to remember them — having never known them personally — is to remember their work, their life, and their legacy. And so here's something that Leah Greenblatt at Entertainment Weekly said about Reed, and that stood out to us:
Reed never sought approval, and rarely offered it. His attitude, like his ambiguous sexuality and legendary drug consumption, was nearly as much a part of his myth-making as the music.
And from Emma G. Fitzsimmons with The New York Times:
Mr. Reed played the sport of alienating listeners, defending the right to contradict himself in hostile interviews, to contradict his transgressive image by idealizing sweet or old-fashioned values in word or sound, or to present intuition as blunt logic.
And something that Reed himself wrote in his review of Kanye West's Yeezus :
I have never thought of music as a challenge — you always figure the audience is at least as smart as you are.You do this because you like it, you think what you’re making is beautiful. And if you think it’s beautiful, maybe they think it’s beautiful.