Perfect Day

by: Lou Reed

Lou Reed's calm, yet ominous song "Perfect Day" has been attracting attention since it first appeared on his Transformer album in 1972, particularly in the U.K., and particularly in the mid- '90s. In 1995, Duran Duran had a Top 40 British hit with it, and a version by Kirsty MacColl and Evan Dando also charted. Then, in 1996, the Reed recording was featured in the film Trainspotting, giving it a new lease on life. Someone at the U.K. branch of BMG Entertainment's discount-priced Camden division seems to have thought that was a good reason to assemble a new compilation of Reed's work from the company's vaults -- he recorded for the BMG labels RCA Victor and Arista from 1972 to 1986 -- attempting to come up with a collection for someone unfamiliar with Reed or the song until its appearance in Trainspotting. Thus, we have this 18-track, 75-minute disc of songs culled from Reed's many albums of the period with an eye toward his calmer, more conventional side. You will not find anything as provocative as Reed's hit "Walk on the Wild Side" or "Street Hassle" here, nor anything as raucous as the live version of "Sweet Jane" from Rock 'n' Roll Animal. But you will find the title tracks from Coney Island Baby and Rock and Roll Heart, along with other mid-tempo rockers and ballads. This is a kinder, gentler Lou Reed than the one most people think of when his name is mentioned. Of course, it isn't an inaccurate portrait of the artist -- he really did record all these songs -- but it certainly isn't the whole story. Think of it as "Lou Reed Lite." No wonder that, shortly after this album came out, "Perfect Day" was used for a chart-topping various artists charity single. ~ William Ruhlmann

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.