"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.