Lou Reed: No Epitaphs
Heaven didn’t just get another angel and heaven’s band didn’t just get another member because heaven isn’t real and Lou Reed was no angel and even if heaven was real and God was willing to overlook Lou Reed’s various and sundry transgressions, there’s no way Reed would be caught dead playing with all the squares that currently make up Heaven’s shitty jamboree.
It’s hard to write about Lou Reed without descending into a Clint Eastwood-ian jeremiad about the softness of our culture. Of course our culture isn’t soft, and things weren’t better back then; that’s the ahistorical sentimentality that Reed, willful misunderstandings of “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll” aside, rarely subscribed to, but it is hard to imagine someone as contentious, disagreeable, and downright ornery as Lou Reed coming up today. Of course, without him, who knows how prissy pop culture would be right now…so maybe he would still arrive to (eventually, over the course of years and years, one influence after another) blow it all up, make degradation beautiful, pick a fight with whoever the Lester Bangs would be in this hypothetical Velvet Underground-less world, where every white chump would still have long hair and sunglasses would be worn exclusively outside, on sunny days.