Mama’s Got a Lover


I think this is a rare occasion of Lou Reed being humorous. For all of his great virtues, Reed was seldom given to high hilarity. When he did display humor, it was usually quite dry. He enjoyed fucking around with journalists by giving sarcastic answers (when he wasn’t being outright rude.) He was also known for making deadpan asides in concert (when not being outright rude.) But overall, Lou Reed was never in the running for a late-night talk show hosting gig, so to speak. Also, I suppose it takes a certain kind of sensibility to find the humor in a song such as The Gift. In this case, I believe Lou is being sarcastic towards ‘the art scene in old SoHo’, which as a I understand it, was and remains ripe for all sorts of mockery. And, more broadly and half seriously, the child’s resentment of the parent’s midlife crisis. It’s also quite topical; in 1986 the art scene everywhere was increasingly gearing away from artistic integrity and towards the big bucks, and Lou himself was at the age of midlife crisis. Even rock stars can relate to the temptation of leaving your day job for something absolutely ridiculous.

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