Lou Reed

Kill Your Sons

Song Review by

"That's really an old song of his," John Cale remarked when the epic "Kill Your Sons" turned up on Lou Reed's 1974 Sally Can't Dance album, although the subject matter itself was even older; "Kill Your Sons" was written by Reed about his teenaged years, when his parents put him through a full psychological evaluation, followed by a treatment that include electric shock therapy.

It's a grim scenario, and "Kill Your Sons" has a soundtrack to match, a churning, even plodding backing through which a guitar scythes with mockingly out-of-place stadium rock-style grandeur. It is one of Reed's densest efforts since the Velvets, and deliberately so. "It's produced in the slimiest way possible," Reed himself remarked. "I like leakage. I wish all the Dolbys were just ripped outta the studio." His laconically throwaway vocal, meantime, was pulled off in one take, while the protracted early fade leaves you breathlessly wondering just what went on once the tape stopped. From one of Reed's most disappointing albums, "Kill Your Sons" emerges as one of his most captivating solo performances.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Sally Can't Dance 1974 RCA 3:40
No Image 1979 RCA
Retro 1989 BMG / Sony Music Distribution 3:35
Between Thought and Expression: The Lou Reed Anthology 1992 RCA 3:37
A Retrospective 1993 RCA 3:37
Different Times: Lou Reed in the '70s 1996 RCA 3:38
The Wild Side: Best of Lou Reed 2000 BMG International 3:35
The Essential Lou Reed 2011 Legacy / RCA 4:08
The RCA & Arista Album Collection 2016 Legacy / RCA 3:40