The Velvet Underground



by tancrni USER (20 Reviews)
October 30th, 2013 | 29 replies

Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A controversial record, but often too underrated.

Since this album is pretty delicate to review - no wonder nobody has done it before - I'll do my best to be as objective as possible, considering first of all the historical facts that lead to this critical point for VU "posthumous" career.
After White Light/White Heat John Cale was kicked off the band by Lou Reed, who hired Doug Yule, referring to him as a more skilled bass player and a decent singer, who he was, indeed. He could work in fact more like a jolly for the band, since he could play basically any instrument.
This was "the beginning of a new age": the next two works would be in fact more rock-orientated than the early noise-rock experiences, also including slow ballads: some of them sung by Yule himself.

After the last album in 1970, Reed had no intention to keep on with the show, strongly willing to go solo and finally become a real rock star, a goal that couldn't be possibly reached under the Velvet Underground's name. So he eventually left the band some months later in 1971. One by one all the original members followed his example and Yule tried to finish the scarcely successful "Loaded tour" with another backing band under the false name of Velvet Underground, which unofficially was no more.
In 1973 the label asked Yule to record one last album and then finally end the Velvet Underground chapter, leaving him the job to compose, write and play all the songs on his own.
The commercial result was catastrophic. After a short time the album was withdrawn from the market and hidden forever in the shade of shame, hoping that everybody would forget about it. This made it very difficult for me to find until I saw it in a record store in Dublin.
You can easily discover from the internet that no CD copy of this was produced, just a few cheap vinyls.

I'm pretty confident that only a little percentage of the people who rated this album on this site has actually ever listened to it, not only because it's pretty tough to own, but also because I reckon there is some kind of prejudice that made them press 'Awful 1.0'.
I see the point that this isn't the Velvet Underground, but probably if this were a Doug Yule solo album it would be more appreciated than it is now.
Nothing was invented or experimented while writing this record, but the stuff is not bad: the songs are catchy - sometimes too catchy, I agree - but relatively short and pleasant to listen to. Some of them are average pop songs, but there are also some great rock'n'roll ballads such as Little Jack, the opening track, which is arguably the best song on this record. After a first good impression, the albums gets worse and tracks like Wordless and Friends are poor, the latter is what I'd define "New Age" ugly sister.

The rest of the album is overall accessible, but such an easy-listening music can be repetitive sometimes. Dopey Joe is very enjoyable and contains also a saxophone accompaniment, just as Send No Letter, which is very rocky and positive.
Crash, Mean Old Man and Louise can be summarised as average Beatles-like songs, nothing exceptional but nothing that bad either.
Caroline, whose refrains cries "Sweet, sweet Caroline", reminds me of a surf rock track and the more interesting She'll Make You Cry could seem banal, but it is somehow communicative and has a nice guitar solo in the middle.
The vocals are weak sometimes but they're Yule's peculiarity: they made him so different from Lou, whose voice was rough and warm, and the contrast seemed to work well in Loaded, but now that Yule is alone they are too frail to be left on their own.

In conclusion...
In 1992 the former guitarist Sterling Morrison suggested Reed and Cale to call Yule for the first and the last reunion tour, but they solemnly refused because of what he had done with the name of their band, insulting the original members.
At this point I would just remember you that when Mr. Reed left the band wasn't quite acting for the band's sake, just for his own interests.
In conclusion, both Reed and Yule made a mistake back then, for which the latter paid a higher price, not being able to build a proper solo career in the future.
His work is too underrated in my opinion and since it's no such thing as awful, I'd give this 3/5, for there's nothing wrong with it musically speaking and this is what matters, despite the fact that it is not a VU album.

Recommended songs
Little Jack
Dopey Joe
She'll Make You Cry

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user ratings (312)
very poor

Comments:Add a Comment 
October 30th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

It actually took me a couple of weeks to listen carefully to the tracks and write this pretty difficult review... As always I apologise if there are grammar mistakes, but I'm no mother tongue...Try to write constructive comments if you don't agree and let me know what you think!

October 30th 2013


An admirable undertaking, I have never heard a single thing off this record.

October 31st 2013


Just got a complete Velvet Underground box set. Needless to say, this album wasn't included.

October 31st 2013


it's not really a velvet underground album. It's also a complete fucking incoherent mess, but it's nice to know some people see
magic in it. Pos'd.

January 8th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

I appreciate your review. If Doug Yule had released this under his own name it might have fared better and it's by no means a bad album. I think everyone just reacts to the fact that there was a lot of nerve (but whose exactly, I'm not sure) to release it under the Velvet Underground name. I played tracks from it on my radio show at one time, it's a nice album.

January 16th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

I think a big part was played by VU's label... Publishing it under a known band name would have meant a more commercial appeal in their minds, I guess.

May 9th 2014


Album Rating: 2.5

This will never be VU for me, doesn't mean it's awful tho.

October 10th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's honestly not a bad album. As already mentioned, it would have been better if it had been released as a Doug Yule solo album. As for the sound, it's a further progression of the sound the band had since the self-titled album.

January 4th 2015


lol, I didn't knew Ian Paice played drums on this one.

February 7th 2015


Album Rating: 1.0

I was very upset hearing this album. I didn't know at the time I got into Velvet Underground that Lou Reed wasn't on this one. I knew John Cale left after White Light/White Heat (my favorite Velvet Underground album), but I didn't know that Lou Reed left after Loaded. However, Doug Yule is no Velvet Underground. He might as well be Jerry Only with The Misfits right now.

February 7th 2015


damn i remember seeing this on the front page 2 years ago
time flies

July 29th 2015


this definitely isn't underrated

October 10th 2016


Album Rating: 3.5

Gets an unfair rap honestly. It doesn't have any originals but that doesn't mean the new guys don't know what they're doing either.

October 10th 2016


I'm so confused why does this have a 1.7

October 10th 2016


cuz its p bad

October 10th 2016


like its bad but its no worse than like beach boys or any dumb shit like that

April 26th 2018


"its no worse than like beach boys or any dumb shit like that"

You shut your whore mouth.

June 2nd 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

underrated af honestly

November 11th 2018


Not that bad, but not good either.

January 1st 2019


Album Rating: 1.5

my first listen of 2019 I cant wait

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