What can you say about the Velvet Underground? A remarkable band for their time, groundbreaking on several levels, and rather frustrating as well. Their four studio records were all completely different from each other, and also from almost anything being done at the time of their release, with the exception of Loaded 1970, which was noteworthy for its Classic Rock sound, itself a departure for such a cutting edge band.
The first album, The Velvet Underground And Nico, done with Nico singing vocals on half the tracks, was insanely eclectic, wildly experimental (both Lou Reed and John Cale were firing on all cylinders), and mind-blowing in 1967.
The Velvet Underground 1969 took an about face, and became the equivalent of their "unplugged" record. A quiet storm of a record, it stands today as their finest hour. Doug Yule replaced John Cale, and the result is a much more accessible record, while no less boundary-pushing in its own right.
The gorgeous ballads Candy Says, Jesus, and Pale Blue Eyes, the rollicking What Goes On and Beginning To See The Light, the rocking magnificence of I'm Set Free, all simply constructed of feeling, rhythm, and nuance. It's a classic, and the most listenable today. This one is the blueprint for chill-out.
The first two are remarkable documents of an exciting time in New York and in music history, but they're not that easy to listen to today. They are both important to rock's later developments, and as such, are years ahead of their time. The fourth is a fine record, with Sweet Jane and Rock And Roll easily worth the price of admission. 1969's The Velvet Underground is a remarkable record, even today, after 42 years. Reed finds a niche he never returned to even though it is some of his finest work. I suggest serving with a glass of dry red wine. Candles would be nice.
1 day ago