Svante Karlsson talks about Junior Dad
One of the most breathtaking and hauntingly beautiful moments in music during the last few years. Lou Reed ''Junior Dad'' live in Dresden in 2012, with a surprise firework.
- I will never see or hear anything the same way after this
Photo Jonas Westring
- When I first heard ''Lulu'' I was slightly disappointed. It was an experience that tore me up a little. But then there was ''Junior Dad''. At the very end. I had already heard from my friends that it was the song to really listen to on the album, but of course I played the entire thing. Needless to say I always listen to a Lou Reed album start to finish. No shortcuts.
''Junior Dad'' hit me hard. The seven-eight minutes at the end was a haunting soundspace. I interpreted that bit like it was Lou Reed saying ''Turn this off when you're done. I have said what I wanted to say.''. Those seven-eight minutes could just as well have been forty minutes if there had been space for that on the disc. It was how I perceived it, as a space to think in.
The King of one-liners, Lou Reed. ''Junior Dad'' almost instantly struck me as something that could very well be the magnificent grand finale to a legendary career. The song made me sad and happy at same time. It describes a dream-like scenario as well as the awakening from a dream. The rhythm of the drums, the dramatic start/stop fills -- it sounds like reoccurring heart-failure. I don't think that he wrote ''Junior Dad'' for ''Lulu''. I think that he added this song to close that album. Then I saw the live-version...
The song was on my mind as I went to Copenhagen on June 18 2012. I was convinced that it was the last chance to see Lou Reed live for people in Scandinavia. Overall it was an amazing gig. And, at the very end - before the encores - there was ''Junior Dad''...
A few naked chords for the most part, tai chi and spoken words. And he knew which chords to put behind his words to bring mist to the crowds' eyes. Electric violin. Poetry. A moon rising on the backdrop, just as the drums had pounded their way to the end. Complete brilliance.
I was so taken by that moment that I didn't know what to do. It was the most astounding moment that I have ever experienced at a concert, and I told myself ''I am hearing this right now. This is it. This is as far as any artist will ever take a live-experience. I will never see or hear anything the same way again after this.''.
In his output it became the last song in a way - now that Lou Reed is gone. To think that he could write something like that, possibly knowing that the end was coming closer... It's such a dignified grand finale, still vibrating with creativity at its highest level.
The closing words echoed in my head as my friend and I left the theatre.
"The greatest disappointment. Age withered him and changed him. Into Junior Dad".
Svante Karlsson is a singer-songwriter based in Sweden. He has released four studio-albums and a live-album to date, including two albums with his renditions of songs by -- among others -- Bob Dylan and Kinky Friedman, and two albums with his own compositions. Karlsson has also contributed to many other artists' output.
Musicians' Corner asked Svante to write something about his experience of this song, and he kindly agreed to doing so.