Kicked off with “I Love You, Suzanne,” as close as Lou Reed ever came to a straight “pop” song, New Sensations is the most uniquely upbeat album in Reed’s canon. Also featuring the title track and “My Red Joystick,” New Sensations introduced Reed to a new, younger audience through MTV and major college radio airplay. The album ranked #1 in CMJ’s “Top 20 Most-Played Albums of 1984.” The pop accessibility of New Sensations was not a capitulation to the marketplace, but a sign of the kind of strong personal shape Reed was in. His battles with drugs and alcohol were behind him, and Reed had married a woman named Sylvia Morales, who would later become his manager as well as his wife. New Sensations does have its darker moments, as one might expect, though it never turns bleak.
Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone, in a four-star review, called New Sensations “a long-overdue delight…for my money, the most consistently winning rock & roll album Reed has had a hand in since Loaded, the Velvets’ brilliant 1970 studio farewell.” Robert Christgau awarded New Sensations an A grade, noting “The music is simple and inevitable, and even the sarcastic songs are good sarcastic songs, with many of the others avoiding type altogether.”
New Sensations has been digitally remastered from the original master tapes by Grammy-winning engineer Vic Anesini, and augmented with liner notes by Michael Hill and expanded packaging.