Robot A. Hull
[Transformer] is further proof even that Lou Reed has turned into something sicker than a homicidal-rapist-mass murdererporno editor. Far gone is that prevailing commercial bubblegum flair so evident on the first album (e.g.—"I Love You," "Lisa Says," "Love Makes You Feel," etc.). Instead, it's more like what the third Velvet Underground album would have sounded like if David Bowie had been in charge of production back then. There's a couple of cute ditties on here that perhaps belong on [The Mothers of Invention's] We're Only In It For The Money …, but other than that this album proclaims itself as most masterpieces proclaim themselves: IT GROWS ON YA!!
Primarily this is because of the lyrics. There are so many good lines thrown at ya at once that, in fact, you could even make a scrapbook. Prime examples are for instance like on "Vicious," a chunky rocker….
Then there's "Wagon Wheel" which is even more frantic than "Vicious" except that it features a prayer by Lou wherein he confesses all of his sins. Yeah, it's got good lines…. (p. 65)
But none of em, absolutely none of em, can top "Walk on the Wild Side" which is most certainly the best thing Lou Reed has come out with since "Rock & Roll." The song is one of those impromptu "Wild Child" ramble-epics which feature exclusively Lou's magnificent sense of sneeze-phrasing…. But it's the words that curdle your oily lubricants….
Yup, he's a full-fledged social degenerate now, and I really don't see how he could get any lower. Not even Candid Press would have the guts to touch him these days.
Nevertheless, other than the fact that this album is great, there's something especially fine about it which sets it apart from all the other crappy platters being released lately. I mean, hell, at least it ain't anal retentive. (p. 66)
Robot A. Hull, "Records: 'Transformer'," in Creem (© copyright 1973 by Creem Magazine, Inc.), Vol. 4, No. 9, February, 1973, pp. 65-6.