Metascore
54

Mixed or average reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 23
  2. Negative: 5 out of 23
  1. The good stuff is strong enough that anyone who cares about Lou Reed's body of work, or Edgar Allan Poe's literary legacy, ought to give it a careful listen.
  2. This experiment in rock 'n' roll Poe is a great success even if you occasionally forget that this is rock 'n' roll after all.
  3. The Raven... does fly on the side of the bizarre, but it holds some rich pickings.
  4. The Wire
    70
    A rewarding and self-consciously motley fest. [#227, p.60]
  5. In the end, what makes this fabulous disaster of an album work is the passion of Reed's performance.
  6. Mojo
    70
    Demanding, certainly, but a formidable and ambitious endeavour achieved with wit and passion. [Feb 2003, p.86]
  7. The spoken words mix wonderfully with excellent musical arrangements, but the original songs primarily suffer in comparison.
  8. Of course it's pretentious, but the blend of reading-group rock, goth showtunes and gold standard hamming from Willem Dafoe and Steve Buscemi is surprisingly compelling after a while.
  9. Reed has once again stretched the boundaries of popular music and, in doing so, has honored Edgar Allan Poe's illustrious legacy, along with his own.
  10. Q Magazine
    60
    Inevitably, it's a bit of a mess.... But if you like Poe, or Reed, and can tolerate the incoherence, there's fun to be had. [Feb 2003, p.105]
  11. Probably makes more sense in a theatre than on your CD player.
  12. Though perfect for hipster English-lit teachers, ravenous Reed fans will find themselves saying "nevermore."
  13. The outcome is alternately brilliant and awful, adventurous and boring, incisive and pretentious, over-wrought and subtle.
  14. While that approach might have worked well on stage, on disc it's deeply unsatisfying.
  15. Blender
    40
    The format is so rambling and fragmented that is serves neither Poe the storyteller noor Reed the songwriter. [#13, p.97]
  16. Reed's wraparound originals are mostly vaudeville, which is to say laughable. [Note: The score listed is for the 2xCD version. The single CD version received a lower score of 1/5 stars.]
  17. Uncut
    40
    All albums are vanity projects, but this vanity may be in vain. [Feb 2003, p.76]
  18. Reed coaxes great performances out of a few unexpected collaborators--Ornette Coleman delivers frenetic sax playing on “Guilty,” and downtown singer Antony warbles in a truly otherworldly soprano on “The Bed”--but these players are crowded out by the album’s sprawling mediocrity.
  19. Maybe it worked on the stage, but taken out of context the result is a two-hour "Huh?" of an album.
  20. 20
    Really, don't waste your time with this.
  21. This album is as much of a baffling nadir as Metal Machine Music, with nowhere near the stoned bravado.
  22. The Raven is downright awful, perhaps Reed’s worst album since Metal Machine Music.
User Score
8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 13
  2. Negative: 1 out of 13
  1. Jul 16, 2019
    10
    The gorgeous epitome of Lou's lifelong literary ambitions, perfectly culminating his career on such a fitting dark note. Truly beautiful workThe gorgeous epitome of Lou's lifelong literary ambitions, perfectly culminating his career on such a fitting dark note. Truly beautiful work of art, a timeless classic for myself and the likes. Full Review »
  2. EnriqueR
    Dec 9, 2006
    10
    Lou Reed is a classic. Classics should be listened, not criticised...Is a great albuem, for Reed fans and for Poe fans...and if you have Lou Reed is a classic. Classics should be listened, not criticised...Is a great albuem, for Reed fans and for Poe fans...and if you have anything bad to say, first you should listen "The Velvet Underground and Nico" and remember who Lou Reed is... Full Review »
  3. Cosmo
    Jun 2, 2005
    10
    Makes me want to dance! The most sensual party album of the decade