March 11, 1996 12:00 PM

Lou Reed

What a morose title Lou Reed has bestowed upon his 18th solo studio album! And a potentially portentous one too: When the craggy rock-and-roll legend deliberately camps it up on the chorus of the punch-drunk opening song, declaring, “You scream/I steam/We all want Egg Cream,” it appears as if twilight has overtaken his creative powers. Fortunately, Reed soon gets back on track. He adds subtle hip-hop shadings to his stream-of-consciousness talk on the shuffling, sexy romp “NYC Man” and gets soulful over the bawling guitars of “Riptide.” At its strum-along best (“Hang On to Your Emotions,” “The Proposition”), Twilight Reeling contains some of Reed’s sturdiest and most accessible work since 1972’s Transformer, which featured his classic “Walk on the Wild Side.” But when he gets overtly political on the anti-Republican “Sex with Your Parents ([expletive deleted]) Part II,” he squanders his gift of insight; the song comes off like a catty, incoherent, adolescent tirade. Sure, personal attack has replaced debate and discourse on and off the campaign trail, but mocking a “Rush Rambo” and “Robert” Dole by claiming they have “been to bed with their parents” is probably taking it all too far. (Warner Bros.)

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