Lou Reed NYC Man: The Ultimate Collection (RCA/BMG) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
This first-ever career-spanning survey of Lou Reed's recordings, from Velvet Underground days right through to The Raven, his overly ambitious Edgar Allan Poe salute, shows that while Reed isn't the best judge of his own work, he definitely should've had a hands-on role in the digital remastering of his entire back catalogue. Even with head-scratching track selections like The Kids, off Berlin, the Live In Italy version of Kill Your Sons and the lame Perfect Day, from Transformer, you get a good cross-section of Reed's obsessions - drugs figure prominently - in songs that focus more on the economy and potency of his songwriting than on his guitar-playing prowess. Great care has been taken to make each song sound better than any previous issue, and when you hear the closing version of Pale Blue Eyes, you'll know Reed was successful.
Lou Reed plays Massey Hall Friday (June 13).