Reed has said he made Metal Machine Music for himself, and indulgence is baked into the concept. It’s the sound of electricity falling in love with itself, utterly relentless, a blast of energy that never lets up. On a casual listen, it seems static, like it’s only doing one thing. But the album constantly changes and is never the same from one second to the next. If you hear the music as placid, which is possible at lower volumes, it’s like a waterfall, endless particles of sound-matter crashing down and never landing in the same way twice. If you hear it as violent, which is also possible, it’s like an explosion that’s constantly at the moment of its concussive peak, one that never quite completes itself.
Um, okay. Sorry, I don’t buy that, and my musical tastes are extremely catholic. Even back when I listened to Throbbing Gristle, I couldn’t find any justification for Metal Machine Music. Yes, I owned it; I bought it used for a couple of bucks, and played the whole thing once. Critics can figure out a way to justify anything, but sometimes they need to say that a certain work is simply bad.