New York (album)

New York is the fifteenth solo studio album by American musician Lou Reed, released in January 1989 by Sire Records.[4]

New York
Lou Reed-New York (album cover).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 10, 1989 (1989-01-10)
RecordedMay–October 1988
StudioMedia Sound, Studio B, New York City
Lou Reed chronology
New York
Songs for Drella
Singles from New York
  1. "Romeo Had Juliette[1]"
    Released: 1989
  2. "Dirty Blvd.[2]"
    Released: 1989
  3. "Busload of Faith[3]"
    Released: 1989

The album received universal critical success upon release, and is widely considered to be among Reed's strongest solo efforts. It is highly regarded for the strength and force of its lyrical content; Reed stated that he required simple music so that it would not distract from his frank lyrics. The single "Dirty Blvd." was a number-one hit on the newly created Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart for four weeks.

Velvet Underground drummer Moe Tucker played percussion on two tracks.

Reed's former band, the Velvet Underground, were at the peak of their cult popularity in the late 1980s, but his solo career had hit several lows during the 1980s. The widespread popularity of New York reignited his career to the extent the Velvet Underground were revived for a world tour.

Background and lyricsEdit

Reed's straightforward rock and roll sound on this album was unusual for the time and along with other releases such as Graham Parker's The Mona Lisa's Sister presaged a back-to-basics turn in mainstream rock music. Conversely, the lyrics through the 14 songs are profuse and carefully woven, making New York Reed's most overtly conceptual album since the early 1970s. His polemical liner notes direct the listener to hear the 57-minute album in one sitting, "as though it were a book or a movie." The lyrics vent anger at many public figures in the news at the time. Reed mentions by name the Virgin Mary, the NRA, Rudy Giuliani, "the President", "the mayor", the "Statue of Bigotry", Buddha, Mike Tyson, Bernard Goetz, Donald Trump, Mr. Waldheim, "the Pontiff", Jesse Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Swaggart, Louis Farrakhan, Oliver North, Richard Secord (misidentified as 'William Secord') and Morton Downey.

Reed also drew inspiration from some of his friends and fellow artists. For instance, in the song "Last Great American Whale," Reed quotes John Mellencamp, referring to him as "my painter friend Donald."[5] Upon hearing the album, Mellencamp himself said, "Yeah, it sounds like it was produced by an eighth-grader, but I like it."[6]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [7]
Chicago Tribune    [8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [9]
Q     [10]
Rolling Stone     [11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [12]
Spin     [13]
The Village VoiceA−[14]

New York was voted the third best album of the year in The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for 1989.[15] In a five-star review of the reissue, Q's Bill Prince noted that it "signalled the beginning of the defrosting of Reed's Velvet Underground past that has so far marked out his '90s.".[16] In 2006, Q placed New York at No. 26 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s".[17]

"Whether or not you buy Reed's line about New York being a single integrated experience 'like a book or a movie'," remarked Q in its end-of-year round-up, "this is indisputably one of the landmark albums of an inconsistently brilliant career."[18] In 1989, Rolling Stone ranked it the 19th best album of the 1980s.[19] Mark Deming wrote in his review that "New York is a masterpiece of literate, adult rock & roll, and the finest album of Reed's solo career." In 2012, Slant Magazine listed it at No. 70 on its list of "Best Albums of the 1980s".[20]

Many critics have highlighted "Romeo Had Juliette" and "Halloween Parade" as among the best songs of Reed's career.[citation needed]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Lou Reed.

Side one
1."Romeo Had Juliette" 3:09
2."Halloween Parade" 3:33
3."Dirty Blvd." 3:29
4."Endless Cycle" 4:01
5."There Is No Time" 3:45
6."Last Great American Whale" 3:42
7."Beginning of a Great Adventure"
Side two
8."Busload of Faith"4:50
9."Sick of You"3:25
10."Hold On"3:24
11."Good Evening Mr. Waldheim"4:35
12."Xmas in February"2:55
14."Dime Store Mystery"5:01
Total length:56:40


Adapted from the New York liner notes.[21]


Live video versionEdit

A live version of the album was recorded August 13, 1989 in Montreal, Canada[22] at[23] Théâtre Saint-Denis. It was made available on Laserdisc and VHS in 1990.

Chart performanceEdit

Weekly chartsEdit

Chart Peak
Austrian Albums Chart 8
German Album Charts 19
Swiss Albums Chart 1
US Billboard 200 40
UK Albums Chart 14

Sales and certificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[24] Platinum 70,000^
France (SNEP)[26] Gold 153,600[25]
Netherlands (NVPI)[27] Gold 50,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[28] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[29] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[30] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[31] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ "Lou Reed - Romeo Had Juliette". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  2. ^ "Lou Reed - Dirty Blvd. (Edit)". Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Lou Reed - Busload Of Faith". Discogs. Retrieved 23 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Pop's Angry Voices Sound the Alarm". The New York Times. 21 May 1989. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  5. ^ Albin Zak (22 December 2000). The Velvet Underground Companion: Four Decades of Commentary. Music Sales Group. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-8256-7242-2.
  6. ^ Forman, Bill. "James McMurtry on Lou Reed, gun control and why Leonard Cohen must die". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  7. ^ Deming, Mark. "New York – Lou Reed". AllMusic. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  8. ^ Kot, Greg (January 12, 1992). "Lou Reed's Recordings: 25 Years Of Path-breaking Music". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th concise ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-85712-595-8.
  10. ^ "Lou Reed: New York". Q. London (68): 103. May 1992.
  11. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (February 23, 1989). "New York". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  12. ^ Hull, Tom (2004). "Lou Reed". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 684–85. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  13. ^ Marchese, David (November 2009). "Discography: Lou Reed". Spin. New York. 24 (11): 67. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 28, 1989). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. New York. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  15. ^ "The 1989 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. New York. February 27, 1990. Retrieved July 29, 2013.
  16. ^ Q April 1995
  17. ^ Q August 2006, issue 241
  18. ^ Q January 1990
  19. ^ "100 Best Albums Of The Eighties". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  20. ^ "The 100 Best Albums of the 1980s - Feature - Slant Magazine". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  21. ^ New York (CD booklet). Lou Reed. Sire Records. 1989.CS1 maint: others (link)
  22. ^ "Lou Reed - The New York Album". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  23. ^ "Lou Reed - The New York Album". Discogs. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  24. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2004 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  25. ^ "Les Albums Or". SNEP. Archived from the original on 2011-10-18. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
  26. ^ "French album certifications – Lou Reed – New York" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  27. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Lou Reed – New York" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved 24 November 2018. Enter New York in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  28. ^ "Sólo Éxitos 1959–2002 Año A Año: Certificados 1979–1990" (in Spanish). Iberautor Promociones Culturales. ISBN 8480486392.
  29. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Lou Reed; 'New York')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-02-06. Retrieved 2014-11-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  31. ^ "Gold & Platinum - RIAA". Retrieved 18 January 2017.

External linksEdit