From the opening notes, Blue with Lou is pure rock ’n’ roll. To call it “classic rock” would be to ghettoize it, and this timeless piece of musical art does not deserve to live in any ghetto.
Lou Reed, in the words of the great Jim Dickinson, is “dead, not gone,” an apparition that Blue with Lou conjures for its listeners.
Nils Logren’s guitar playing physically grips your body. On track after track, the deep grooves and powerful, soulful notes will have you, at the very least swaying. Lofgren shows his range, playing twangy country-rock on “Pretty Soon,” and doing his thing on the jazz-cum-reggae “City Lights.”
Both Reed and Lofgren cut complex figures, and the album revels in contradictions and oppositions. Opening track “Attitude City,” described by Lofgren as a spin on the imagery of “Saturday Night Fever,” drives with an upbeat tempo and describes a night on the town. But the song actually functions as a critique of the big-monied elites who run the world, and the way they egotistically strut around. There’s political critique here by way of irony and satire, without the artists ever directly tipping their hand as to their message. This kind of subtle messaging takes deft skill as a writer, and while it goes without saying, Lofgren and Reed are master songwriters.
A joy to listen to, the songs on Blue with Lou will continue to yield returns on repeated listening. Nils Lofgren has crafted a fantastic album that’s worthy of his collaborator, and Lou Reed fans will find the material here essential. This album has broad appeal: guitar aficionados, Reed devotees, fans of the various bands and artists associated with Lofgren — but really, if you love rock music, you’ve got to hear Blue with Lou.
Blue with Lou by Nils Lofgren is on sale April 26, 2019.
Nils Lofgren will perform at The Birchmere for two nights — Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22.