The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground (1969)
There are four Velvet Underground albums and sure I’ve said before that Loaded is the sentimental favourite (my introduction to the band) and of course the debut album is the revelation. I’m a huge fan of White Light/White Heat too. But to my ears this is the album that has had the widest impact influence-wise. Well, maybe that’s not the right way to say it because I’m sure those first two stretched the furthest as introductions; as blasts of sound. But this album – the “consolidating one” – is the one I now hear most often in the work of others. Take someone like Dean Wareham – he’s all but based a career (and three different bands) on this album. And where the first two albums are remembered for their sound for their assault on songs – this one I remember for the songs. There’s still the edge/tension, absolutely (The Murder Mystery). There’s still some challenges and plenty of things that are challenging but this is an incredible collection of songs. I’ve always thought it would make a really cool show to get a bunch of musicians together and perform every song from this album – perhaps with slides or interpretive dance or something else happening; a theatre piece almost. And there are four or five songs that stand out still as most excellent songs for any band to learn and cover. It’s also easy to see and hear this now as the hinge between White Light/White Heat and Loaded. I also think Doug Yule has been so unfairly maligned and marginalised in the VU story. I thought he brought a lot to the group. Finally, I think this is the VU album that had the most influence (and is most representative) of Lou Reed’s writing across his solo career. He has returned to this album often for themes/ideas.
Sample Track: Beginning To See The Light
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