Though Reed hobbles through some lesser-known material from early in his career, he draws heavily from his less accessible work (including the John Cale collaboration Songs for Drella and 2003's The Raven). The album's stripped-down arrangements are lethargic and uninspired, and between-song banter shows Reed trying to prop up his own legacy by reminding the crowd of how good he and his band are, and the significance of the music they're performing. Animal Serenade offers little more than proof that Reed is in the twilight of his career. The ferocity, danger, and prowess are gone. Listening leaves you to wonder whether this beast has merely grown long in the tooth -- or is toothless altogether.
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