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POP/ROCK

<i> Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press</i>

Rock’s quintessential New York voice Lou Reed, in his 20th album, titled “New York,” proclaims that the city is in terminal decline, a dirty island sinking into a filthy river watched over by a “Statue of Bigotry” that taunts the poor huddled masses she lured into hopeless poverty and brutality. “I’ll take Manhattan,” Reed sings, “in a garbage bag.” But Reed, 47, told Reuters in an interview that the album’s bitter rage and venomous humor did not reflect despair, just reality. “I think it’s a pretty accurate, kind of jaundiced view--with a lot of humor--of some of the things that are going on in this city that I really care about,” said Reed, who 20 years ago helped found the Velvet Underground, the Andy Warhol-sponsored band that shattered rock lyrics taboos.


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