“The music is all. People should die for it. People are dying for everything else, so why not the music?”—Lou Reed.
Lou Reed, the focal point of The Velvet Underground and the endless champion of American alternative pop, had an insatiable appetite for music.
Having written, recorded and released no fewer than 22 solo albums, Reed initially propelled his talents to the forefront of the music industry with five highly celebrated studio albums with The Velvet Underground. Make no mistake about it, Reed devoured music in volume and considered songwriting as one of the higher forms of art.
While Reed tragically passed away in 2013 after suffering from liver disease, the 71-year-old remained hugely active up until that moment and released his final record, Lulu, alongside Metallica just two years prior. Later still, the former Velvet Underground member provided guest vocals on Synthetica, a record by Canadian indie rock band Metric, just months before his death.
“Rock & roll is so great, people should start dying for it,” Lou Reed once famously said. “You don’t understand. The music gave you back your beat so you could dream…The people just have to die for the music. People are dying for everything else, so why not for music? Die for it. Isn’t it pretty? Wouldn’t you die for something pretty?”
He added: Music should come crashing out of your speakers and grab you, and the lyrics should challenge whatever preconceived notions that listener has.”
Reed continually kept his finger on the pulse of contemporary and popular music. Taking a hands-on approach to the developing technology around him, Reed controlled his own Spotify account which hosted several different playlists of songs he liked from the radio.
Entitled ‘What I’m listening to’, Reed’s final contribution to his creative Spotify account was to curate two playlists for his followers. Combining some more predictable selections with the likes of Roy Orbison, Prince, Tom Waits and more, Reed also managed to raise a few eyebrows when he includes artists such as Nicki Minaj, Robyn and more.
Stream the playlists, below.