The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground started alternative music, or may as well have--stop arguing. Think the cool artsy fartism of Andy Warhol in a band, but less colorful, more black, even more sunglasses, less repetition.

see Lou Reed, Nico

Information: The Velvet Underground Unofficial Web Site
Suggested first purchase: The Velvet Underground and Nico
Suggest best of: The Best of the Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground and Nico (1967) -- I can imagine certain people hearing this record for the first time and sobbing because someone had finally made music that made sense at all. The mix of the prettiness of the opening "Sunday Morning" and its subject matter of dreading to face the bright morning sun is a good indication of what we're talking about, and the the primitive banging of "Waiting for the Man," and the pretty Nico-sung "Femme Fatale," the kinky "Venus in Furs," the rock of "Run, Run, Run," the absolute real-life issues in "All Tomorrow's Parties," the even more primitive and urgent banging of "Heroine," the perfect "There She Goes Again," the lovely "I'll Be Your Mirror," the infectious scraping of "The Black Angel's Death Song," and the never-boring raucus of "European Son." I've just listed all the tracks. Don't skip a one. Bang. A

White Light/White Heat (1967) -- Not as good as its predeccesor (though most will argue that it's better than what I say it is), it's still a remarkable album, especially for its time. The highlights of this short album are "White Light/White Heat" and "Lady Godiva's Operation." "The Gift" is an instrumental track where Lou Reed gets one of his horrible shit short stories read. B

The Velvet Underground (1969) -- A more sweet version of The Velvet Underground, it doesn't pack the whallop that the first album did, but it's a little better than the second. "Candy Says" and "Pale Blue Eyes" are more proof that Lou Reed can write pretty songs, as well as "Jesus" which seems like an irony-free gospel song. "The Murder Mystery" is probably the most interesting of the tracks. A

Loaded (1970) -- Though no one really considers the 1973 release Squeeze an official Velvet Underground album, I barely consider Loaded one. Two main ingredients, John Cale and Mo Tucker, just as important as Lou Reed, were not present on the album, and the album basically sounds like a regular rock album of the time. Lots of decent songs, but who wants another one of those? C

The Best of the Velvet Underground (1967-1970) -- Released in 1989, this is a very good collection of the VU's best-known songs. An especially good start for unsure beginners wanting to know more about the band. A

Peel Slowly and See (1967-1970) -- Released in 1995, this box set features all four of the albums, plus tons of extras (including the stuff from VU and Another View) and a history-of booklet. The only thing semi-annoying about it is if you want to listen to the albums themselves, you have to find them smooshed between the extra songs, so that sometimes the outtakes run into the real albums, giving an overlong jumbled feel to something that is otherwise tight. Not a huge problem though. You also get a pre-Nico demo tape album. A

Copyright (c) Oct 2000 - Apr 2005 by Rusty Likes Music