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ALBUM REVIEW / POP

Reed's 'Twilight' Glows With Illumination From the Heart : LOU REED: "Set the Twilight Reeling" Warner Bros. *** 1/2

February 20, 1996|ROBERT HILBURN

Just as Neil Young showed no sign of slowing down creatively in last year's uplifting "Mirror Ball" album, Reed--one of rock's other great elder statesmen--demonstrates that he, too, hasn't lost a step. Like "Magic and Loss," the splendid 1992 Reed album that was a reaction to the deaths of some close friends, this collection is a celebration of life.

While "Magic" carried a seriousness and weight that made it feel like the result of prolonged reflection, this one has a lighter, more spontaneous edge--like a group of snapshots from life. That doesn't mean it is either skimpy or casual.

Reed can still be biting ("Sex With Your Parents, Part II" is a jab at right-wing attacks on pop culture). Mostly, however, he is simply sharing some intimate feelings--from the playful childhood nostalgia of "Egg Cream" to the eloquence of "Trade In," an expression of renewed optimism as richly evocative as anything he has written. As always, Reed's best songs speak with authenticity, imagination and heart.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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