The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground & Nico


5.0
classic

Review

by Chewbacca USER (32 Reviews)
July 5th, 2005 | 99 replies


Release Date: 1967 | Tracklist


By the mid to late 60s, the flower children, hippies, counter culture, or whatever you want to call it had risen and spread their ideals of peace and love. There was one thing wrong with their ideals, though : they were unrealisitc. By 1966-1967, a hands came around that were the polar opposites of the peace loving hippies. The Stooges , the MC5, theVelvet Undground, etc. wrote songs about what they experienced; the real world. The songs were harsh in music, lyrics, and overrall approach. They were from the stark industrial cities, where reality was a bitch and copping heroin was your main goal for the day, not spreading peace and love. The Velvet Undeground formed the basis on which bands like the first-wave punk bands, and eventually, bands like Sonic Youth, would build on. Lou Reed wrote cynical, realistic songs about city life, with the full band droning behind him, like a piece of factory equipment. Sometimes, the songs would go on for longer than they should, but that's the charm of them. The Velvet Underground and Nico was their first release, in 1967, and is a milestone of rock music.

The Velvet Undergound and Nico mainly consists of two types of songs : harsh, droning songs, and beautiful, droning songs. The songs eventually become very hypnotic, as in "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "Venus in Furs," with the instrumentation repeating over and over, as if you were hearing cars constantly passing by without relenting. "Sunday Morning" is a rather beautiful song, with a very pop-sounding xylophone melody, and is a completely false representation of most of the songs on the album. The song is one of the shortest, also, lasting only around two minutes, and gives way to "I'm Waiting for the Man," an undeinable classic. "I'm Waiting for the Man" depicts a junkie's daily routine. The character goes to score some dope, in a side of the town where he is rather out of place, and the dealer is late, as always. The character eventually scores the dope, and takes it, and then tells of how he will have to repeat the process all over again. The instrumentation is rather harsh sounding, with stacatto guitar playing, the same note or two hammered on piano, and pounding drums.

Nico also makes her presence on many of the songs here, and makes them her own, with her rather low, baroque voice. The repetitive, and quiet "Femme Fatale," which contains some great backing vocals by the band, the grand "All Tommorow's Parties," with some majestic piano work and Nico's rather low voice, and the beautiful, almost poppy sounding "I'll Be Your Mirror," with tambourine and some simplistic, and melodic guitar playing that suits the lyrics and Nico's voice very well. These songs are a lot better than some people make them out to be. They are are simple and melodic pop songs, unlike the songs that Lou Reed sings on, for the most part.

There are also some fantastic representations of the Velvet Underground's avant-garde leanings, which would would further influence noise-rock and no-wave bands of the 80s and 90s. "Venus in Furs" contains a crude viola melody from John Cale, with pounding toms and a nasty vocal accompaniment. The true highlight of the album, though, is "Heroin" an extremely dark song with some droning accompaniment, and eventually goes into complete chaos with John Cale's viola noise and the band going at full force. "The Black Angel's Death Song" is basically all just noise, and is probaly the darkest song here, which is fantastic, and "European Son," which seems to be a cynical attack at art-hipsters, starts out with a chromatic bass line, and eventually a car crash sound bursts out and the band starts making as much noise as they possibly can, with both Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison go haywire, hitting random notes and droning on with shots of feedback, Maureen Tucker pouding constantly on the toms, John Cale tremelo-picking and bending bass notes, etc. and is a very good example of insanity. They would eventually further this noise-jam on White Light/White Heat with "Sister Ray," a full 10 minues longer than "European Son".

Overall, The Velvet Underground and Nico is a classic album, one of the first rock bands to combine the avant-garde, freeform jazz, rock, and pop music all into one album. It's sad that "classic rock" stations don't play the VU, because they are one of the most classic of them all. This is the bible to 70s and 80s underground music, and should remain so to this day. One of the greatest albums of all time.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Rudd13
July 5th 2005


952 Comments


Nice.This Message Edited On 02.08.06

masada
July 5th 2005


2733 Comments




Well, I haven't slept for over 24 hours. That may be it. I really don't think it's a bad review though...

Damrod
Moderator
July 5th 2005


1093 Comments


Still a good review. :thumb:

Go get some sleep though. ;)

Robert Crumb
Emeritus
July 5th 2005


165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good work. You've earned your sleep.

woofwoofwoof
July 5th 2005


156 Comments


i'm the only one with it on my playlist? you guys smell

masada
July 10th 2005


2733 Comments


Come on, where's the Velvet love?

Zmev
July 14th 2005


983 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Brilliant album, and there's another review of this album by Badmoon with about 30+ replies.

Iai
Emeritus
July 14th 2005


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Though that's mainly Zappa and SD slagging the album off.

Jawaharal
July 24th 2005


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

got this and what a mistake...... Very repetive and nicos voice just was not my cup of tea. I think I wanted to throw the CD out of my car window when I heard the backing vocals on there she goes. Herion is the only decent song to me. Though I do think the guys voice is good.

masada
July 25th 2005


2733 Comments


I thought it was horrible when I first got it. Maybe it takes time to grow.

Jawaharal
July 25th 2005


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I hope so cause it cost me $20

masada
July 25th 2005


2733 Comments


I paid $7 for it, brand new.

Jawaharal
July 25th 2005


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

well I picked it up at fye where everyrhing is overpriced

Jawaharal
July 25th 2005


1832 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i guess your right about the growing on you thing cause even though I cringe everytime listening to it I have a craving to listen to it again.

Zmev
August 7th 2005


983 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

And so it begins.

robo2448
August 7th 2005


132 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's a great album. Very influential. I was kind of disappointed the first time I heard it after everything I heard about it, but it's grown on me.

blueduck5000
August 8th 2005


14 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Andy Warhol is so cool.

Captain_HumpYourFace
August 8th 2005


119 Comments


I can't take anything away from the influence this band had on music but this album has always felt realyl dated to me. It can still be enjoyable to toss on every once in a while but this isn't exactly a record I want to listen to more than once every few months.

Still an excellent review of one of the most influential bands ever.This Message Edited On 08.09.05

Zappa
August 9th 2005


355 Comments

Album Rating: 0.5

I hate this album. That's all there is to it.

MindlessPickle
January 29th 2006


8 Comments


This is an awsome album! Awsome, I tell ya. This and Surfer Rosa was the reason that I picked up my guitar and started writing music. Of course when I first heard it, I didn't even know who the fuck Velvet Underground were.



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