Lou Reed

Coney Island Baby/Berlin

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If you're a Lou Reed fan, chances are you already have Berlin; it's a complete necessity in his catalog. If you're hardcore enough, you have Coney Island Baby, which is a deeply flawed recording. That said, if you're a novice and looking to dig into Lou's solo material, this looks like you're getting a solid double dose. Not so. The place to start with is Transformer -- and the later edition at that, because of the bonus material and superior sound -- and only then Berlin. The basic deal here is that Legacy has been packaging classic albums with inconsequential ones as a way of clearing its own inventory. That said, there isn't any significant price break as an incentive, and all that's going on with the packaging is two CDs packed in a slipcase box -- trees cut for no good reason. Stick with single-disc packages; you'll be better served by the music. Snag Berlin, turn off the lights, and have a good cry (but turn them on again before you get to the end of "The Kids").

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