Lou Reed – best known for loud, feedback-laden songs about drugs and sex with the late 60s and early 70s group Velvet Underground – might be one of the artists you’d least expect to be singing about afternoons in the park and feeding animals in the zoo. But on “Perfect Day,” Reed does just that.
The song tells of a what Reed thinks is a perfect day: drinking sangria in the park, going to the zoo and movies, then to home, with Reed “glad [he’s] spent it with you.” The song is sung without any irony, although Reed himself seems surprised at this surreal “day,” adding “You made me forget myself / I thought I was someone else, someone good.”
“Perfect Day” is taken from Reed’s 1973 Transformer album, which is arguably Reed’s greatest solo work (with 1989’s New York being the other contender). Unlike the majority of Reed’s songs, “Perfect Day” features a piano as its main instrument instead of guitar, and strings also feature prominently, cementing this as an odd-track for Reed in more than just a lyrical sense.
The song ends with the line “you’re going to reap just what you sow” repeated over and over, hinting that things will not be perfect forever. And they aren’t.