"Perfect Day" is a logical extension of Lou Reed's work up through Transformer (1972); he always had a bit of Brill Building, if not Tin Pan Alley songwriting in him. The song begins as traditional jazz-pop songcraft, like the classic nuggets churned out by those tune factories. Over a lazy progression of piano chords, a bastardized Burt Bachrach-type of arrangement, Reed drawls like a modern-day Perry Como: "Just a perfect day/Drink sangria in the park/And then later when it gets dark, we go home/Oh, it's such a perfect day/I'm glad I spend it with you/Oh, such a perfect day/You just keep me hanging on." But this being Reed, in a way the anti-Como, the summery song soon takes a turn for the dark side, even if only subtly so: "Just a perfect day/You made me forget myself/I thought I was someone else, someone good," ending with the menacing refrain of, "You're going to reap just what you sow/You're going to reap just what you sow." He takes the pernicious approach of Brian Wilson to a new level. What has made such a day turn so sour? Why is the narrator so bitter? We don't know for sure, but he certainly seems to be at war with himself. It appears that the "perfect day" is now just a memory, and as in an old blues, country, or folk song, the narrator warns of some impending doom, tragedy for the addressee of the lyric for apparently doing him wrong and denying him further such idyllic moments. The intermingling light and dark made the song a perfect centerpiece for the film adaptation of Irvine Welsh's novel exploring heroin use, Trainspotting (1996). Reed is accompanied by only the piano, a small jazz rhythm section, and light orchestration, which swells during the chorus, wherein Reed outrightly croons. The strings build to a crescendo before gliding into the coda refrain. The student aids the master on this record; David Bowie -- who had long before acknowledged Reed's influence -- produces Transformer, the second post-Velvet Underground Reed solo album, and gives Reed's career a much-needed boost. Surprisingly, Bowie sideman, Mick Ronson, known more for his identifiable electric guitar punch, supplies the traditional, decidedly non-rock & roll arrangement.