The Velvet Underground, Loaded (1970)
I have a special connection to this album as a CD; it was the first compact disc I ever bought. So my vinyl copy is a new print. I bought it a year or so ago. Beaut record. A firm favourite for me for close to 20 years now. It was also the first full-length Velvet Underground album I heard; bought because I’d been reading some Lou Reed bios and knew a small handful of songs from the VU via Lou’s solo albums – most obviously Sweet Jane. It might not be the right thing to say, but I have never really cared about that so I’ll definitely say it: this is my favourite Velvet Underground album. That does not mean that I don’t like the others – I love all of them – and I guess on a particular day I might choose the self-titled album as my favourite. I might also pick the compilation, VU as my favourite. But the consistent favourite – the VU album I’m always in the mood for is Loaded. It’s the one I’ve heard the most. It’s the one I cherish. For the sentimental/nostalgic reasons and also for the fact that it is the least representative of The Velvet Underground Sound but (to me) it’s the most constantly pleasing. It’s packed with incredible songs. Songs that might have gone to the top of the charts if The Kinks or The Beatles or The Byrds or The Zombies had written/recorded them (or even just covered them). It’s arguably a mixed-bag of power-pop and alt-country antecedents – though I doubt it’s ever looked at for what it has to offer there. And it’s also a fight. A fight between Lou Reed and Doug Yule and, sure, I guess Lou gets the victory (or at least the credit – for the songs) but I think Doug Yule has been a convenient scapegoat/whipping boy in music history. He killed the Velvet Underground’s legacy. It’s easy to hate him for that. Did anyone really care at the time? What people should care about is that his singing and playing here is sublime. And what about how it says Moe Tucker is on the drums but she’s not. She was heavily pregnant and her sound is nowhere near this record. A big part of why this is the least representative VU album. But I think it’s glorious. So many great songs like New Age, I Found A Reason and Train Round The Bend. And that epic, wonderful closing track. I’ve often thought a track-by-track cover of this album would be a worthwhile project to be involved with. Lovely stuff.
Sample Track: Oh! Sweet Nuthin’
The Vinyl Countdown is a document of every LP I listen to, brand new discoveries and old-old favourites; extremely pre-loved, previously abandoned or with the shrink-wrap having just been removed it’s all here at The Vinyl Countdown