Lou Reed / Original Album Series

Lou Reed / Original Album Series 5CD set

When Lou Reed‘s 1992 album Magic and Loss was first issued on CD, it not only had all the lyrics in English in the booklet, but translations of the words in many other languages. With the version included in this new Rhino ‘Original Album Series’ you get nothing except the name of the songs written on the back of a card sleeve, with producer and writing credits (no musicians) at the bottom. Such is progress…

What this set does offer is outstanding value and great quality, in terms of the music represented. These releases can often deliberately avoid a big selling or critically successful album and bundle in the odd turkey, but this Lou Reed set has to be one of the best we’ve seen, with a very strong sequence of every solo studio album (and the Songs For Drella collaboration with John Cale) released between 1989 and 2000.

New York remains a high point in Reed’s career – his love/hate letter to the city where he grew and up, while Songs For Drella followed the very next year – a very beautiful and satisfying collaboration with John Cale that remembers the life of Andy Warhol.

Magic and Loss from 1992, is not an album you’d reach for to put on at a party, but it remains a truly stunning piece of work. A quiet meditation on life and death, told with brutal honesty as Reed recalls the passing of two friends. If you’d like to read more about Magic and Loss, we discussed it here last year.

Set The Twilight Reeling (1996) and Ecstasy (2000) didn’t benefit from the general goodwill and momentum that the three previous albums enjoyed, but they are both excellent. Reed is as witty and literate as ever, and Ecstasy sees the return of Mike Rathke, who played on New York and Magic and Loss (he also co-wrote many songs on the Magic and Loss album).

Don’t buy this set for the packaging. The art reproduction on the card sleeves is not great, and all whites are rendered grey, possibly due to using recycled card. But do buy it for arguably Lou Reed’s best run of albums in his entire career and the giveaway price. Highly recommended.

Lou Reed / Original Album Series 5CD box set

Lou Reed / Original Album Series 5CD box set

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[…] in live material (and can live without The Raven) then the five-CD Original Album Series set highlighted here might be a better option. And it’s about 50 percent cheaper in terms of per-disc price. The […]

[…] It took a ‘busload of faith’ to get by in 1989, and it still takes a busload of faith to get by today. Never really tire of this wonderful record from Lou Reed, and was happy to pick this up on vinyl, even if at £4.99 was stretching towards the upper limit of our second hand vinyl budget! The line in Last Great American Whale about how ‘you can’t always trust your mother’ is sardonic genius. This is also available on CD as part of the highly recommended Lou Reed Original Album series. […]

Victor Best

I have got all 3 Lou Reed mini box sets, the first with Transformer is my favourite.
The new set is very good featuring albums many fans missed first time round.
Now there is no excuse not to own them all at this price.
Please can we have the complete Velvet Underground in 2 sets for 2014.

[…] in 2013, Original Album Series offers 5 Lou Reed albums from the middle period of his solo career — 1989′s New York to […]


…but I love New York, and loved the concert tour for that album.


I would’ve been surprised if Lou Reed wasn’t an arsehole. On the other hand, your friend is right: that mullet was a very bad fashion choice.

But if you’re Lou Reed, you get to do these things. And make very bad records with Metallica. And concerts for dogs with Laurie Anderson.


We’re all different. For example, I have a friend that is a roady and worked for the Velvet Underground the last time they played here. He said he didn’t like Lou Reed’s mullet and red suede moccasins – that it was really not right for a member of the Velvet Underground and he said Lou Reed was the biggest arsehole he has ever had to work with. Now you see, I find all that quite funny. My friend didn’t.


Totally disagree, these five albums, particularly NY, Drella & Magic are simply stunning and deserve better reissues than these cheap boxsets.
How you can think Mistrial or Growing Up In Public betters these is beyond me , would like to see an expannded Street Hassle or Bells though!


I reckon a reissue of every album up to New York is more interesting than a reissue of those that followed it….I even love New Sensations. Everything form New York onwards is a bit Zzzzzzzz…..