The most challenging, ehem, album that you will ever hear in your life

There is some music that transcends pre-conceived notions of what music is in its traditional, structured sense (think John Cage’s 4’33, which is essentially silence and more of a sound experiment). If you ever want to listen to music that really challenges you, listen to Lou Reed’s Metal Music Machine (1975). Reed himself has insinuated that the album was meant to be a joke, and has recited the ancedote that he collapsed in laughter after delivering it to a group of no-doubt baffled RCA record executives.

The album itself consists of four songs, roughly around 16 minutes each, of screeching feedback. Listening to it can be roughly described as the aural equivalent of diving for pearls in an ever-shifting sonic whirlpool, or if that is too pretentious, listening to a blizzard of sound in a compact windtunnel. An album that is simultaneously both good and bad is beyond definition, but the fact that RCA promoted this bizarrre sonic concoction as a pop album is the strangest and most laughable thing of all. May the notoriously iconoclastic Reed keep on being a true maverick.

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