With The Bells, Lou Reed fulfilled—maybe even laid to rest—a longstanding ethos: one of grim choices and unsparing accountability. A song like "Families" sounded as if it used up the whole of Reed's emotional being. It didn't seem possible that either his art or his life could ever be the same again. They can't. Growing Up in Public tells us why, and then tells us something more….
Growing Up in Public is an album about summoning high-test courage: the courage to love, and along with it, the will to forgive everybody who—and everything that—ever cut short your chances in the first place. As Reed himself has noted, there's always been a powerful personal quality to his...
(The entire section is 724 words.)