Day 334: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico

28 Jan

Sunday Morning

I was at a Los Campesinos! concert yesterday (see if you can spot me—I’m not the guy in the Scooby Doo costume half way through).  After the show, I bought a shirt.  On this shirt, is a wishbone drawn in a manner very similar to the Warhol banana on the cover of today’s record.  That got me thinking about The Velvet Underground—long time readers may remember that the band didn’t do all that much for me back in the early days of The Swole.  But, as encouraged by one of the site’s more vocal commenters, I decided that I should give them another shot, especially if I’m going to wear a shirt that references The VU’s work.

Do you know why I did (and continue to) not like White Light/White Heat? It’s really, really bad, almost objectively so. However, Nico almost sounds like it was made by a different band entirely.  Lou Reed’s got some great lyrics on this effort, and everything sounds rehearsed and planned—there’s no seventeen-minute genre-odyssey this time around.  Perhaps the fact that Andy freakin’ Warhol was the producer has got something to do with it…

The most noticeable difference between this record and White Light is that Nico really serves a purpose.  There’s still good music being released today that draws from this record—any band that claims to conjure inspiration from any other VU record is extremely misguided.  Plus, I finally know where the All Tomorrow’s Parties festivals got their name—check track 6.

I feel like I can wear my wishbone shirt with pride now, repping two bands that I don’t hate at the same time.  Now that’s kind of cool.


3 Responses to “Day 334: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico”

  1. Chops It Takes January 29, 2012 at 6:43 am #

    So defensive! To listen to all of VU’s albums is far from a Herculean feat. They only recorded 4 (pretty short) studio albums during their “real” existence (i.e. before Lou Reed took a powder). “Velvet Underground” and “Loaded” contain some of the Velvets’ best-known, most-covered and best-loved songs (not that there is anything wrong with The Velvet Underground & Nico): “Candy Says”, “Pale Blue Eyes”, “Beginning To See The Light”, .”What Goes On”, “Who Loves the Sun”, “Sweet Jane”, “Rock & Roll”.

    What you disliked on White Light/White Heat seems to be the band at its most abrasive and experimental. That is what drew some to the band – not you. I did not see any comment on “European Son”, the track that is probably closest to White Light which I am guessing also will probably get the “skip” button next time it comes on.

    The other albums are closer to this one than to White Light/White Heat. You might want to check those out before you dig too deep a trench around that “any band that claims to conjure inspiration from any other VU record is extremely misguided” position. Did you really dislike the title track on White Light? As for Andy Warhol, he did not really have any direct effect on the music. He played an important role in terms of getting the band the money and notoriety they needed (not that it translated to sales) and maybe some conceptual input.

    Lou Reed and John Cale (who hate each other) actually managed to put aside their differences to put out a pretty good album about Warhol that is worth a listen:

    • Dave Chops February 15, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      ‘Member those bands I mentioned that liked songs not on “Velvet Underground Wiff Nico”?


  1. Heroin, The Velvet Underground « 35in35 - February 18, 2012

    […] Day 334: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico ( Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInDiggRedditStumbleUponEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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