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Old 08-06-2007, 12:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Velvet Underground and Nico

The Velvet Underground and Nico

Side One:
1. Sunday Morning (2:56)
The albums opening track was the last to be recorded. It is a smooth melodic and deliberate track which was the first single released. It features Nico and Lou Reed on vocals, while Reed wrote the song along with John Cale who provides the memorable celesta rhythm backing the envisioned radio-friendly tune. It’s a bizarre and misleading beginning to the album but somehow a perfect fit amongst the beautiful chaos that is “The Velvet Underground and Nico”.

2. I’m Waiting for the Man (4:39)

The electric introduction of the captivating Reed on lead vocals comes in “I’m waiting for the man” A detailed, thinly veiled account of a heroin score in Harlem. The less then delicate incorporation of a bar room style piano as backdrop to the distorted electric guitar rhythms give the song an unmistakable and almost palpable feel.

3. Femme Fatale (2:39)
Another Nico led track and my personal least favorite on album. The credited Producer of the album Andy Warhol requested that Reed write the song about Edie Sedgwick. “Producer” Warhol must have been insane to have been around while this album was made. His most tangible contribution was the albums Banana sticker cover. (You gotta see it to believe it)

4. Venus in Furs (5:12)
If the Acid hadn’t kicked in yet, well here you go. “Venus in Furs” is a trance like sadomasochistic romp into the surreal. Inspired by a book of the same name that made an impression on Reed, who tuned all his guitar strings to same note for this song. There is also a piercing viola that haunts you throughout the track. The Bridge is among my favorite moments of the album.

5. Run Run Run (4:22)
A Blues driven New York City drug\hipster pop culture inspired cry. According to the legend, Reed wrote the song on the back of an envelope on the way to a gig. The vocals on the track are out of character for Reed and the most mainstream part of the song. A nice transition from Venus to the A side finale.

6. All Tomorrows Parties (6:00)
A sort of Ode to Andy Warhol from Lou Reed who specifically wrote the song about Warhol and his friends. Nico, a Warhol creation in a sense was a model and singer who broke through with Brian Jones of the Stones, was the lead singer on this tack as well. A marching beat guides you through the purposeful lyrics and powerful open D guitar leads of Lou Reed. The song was Warhol’s favorite.

Side Two:
7. Heroin (7:12)
Heroin is my favorite song on this and most any album: Poignant and painful, honest, a brutal masterpiece. The emphatic drum beat of Maureen Tucker forces your heart to follow and you almost can’t fight the delightfully melancholy that pulls you into its wake. The gradual crescendo of both its tempo and psychedelic nature make “Heroin” a resonant and impressive footprint in the Velvet Underground experience.

8. There She Goes Again (2:41)
A guitar riff taken from Marvin ***e is the most memorable part of this track in which Lou Reed vaguely details the accounts of a prostitute with a seemingly ironic sort of admiration in the narrative tone. My favorite line of the album “you better hit her” The doo-wop era harmony style lyrical backing and guitar serve to expand the eclectic repertoire of The Velvet Underground.

9. I’ll Be Your Mirror (2:14)
“Please put down your hands, ‘cause I see you.” I’ll be your mirror is a song you’ll be ashamed to like as much as you do. The willowy vocal provided by Nico in her final track is captivating and final validation of her inclusion and the unique dimension it brought to the album. Lou Reed loved this freaking song.

10. The Black Angel’s Death Song (3:11)
An avant-garde effort to be proud of; John Cale pushed this song both through the writing process and with his electric viola that drives the song. The feedback and conflict created by Cale throughout the track is its identity. The fierce ranting vocals of Reed complete the song’s eerie bouquet of sound and seemingly pay homage to Bob Dylan all at once.

11. European Son (7:46)
Despite being the longest song on the album it has the fewest lyrics, and this is by design as the song was intended to pay tribute to Delmore Schwartz a writer whom again Reed was fond of. The track is in essence a short few stanzas of verse and 6 and half minutes of feedback motivated free jazz improvisation by the band.

On the Whole “The Velvet Underground and Nico” is among the greatest albums ever recorded. It is chalked full of oddity and intrigue and has all the characters of a dramatic cinematic epic. Lou Reed is as unstoppable and entrancing a front man as could ever be and his singular creativity in song writing sets this album apart from other cutting edge 1960’s Rock music. John Cale’s instrumental creativity adds an even more idiosyncratic edge to the avant-garde rockers 1967 debut.

Last edited by Son of JayJamJah; 09-12-2007 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-15-2007, 02:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Great review, I find that this album gets a lot of undeserved criticism because of Nico's vocals, which I personally think fit well. Beautifully written review, would like to hear a bit more personal opinion though... European Son, for instance, most people could tell its six minutes of free improv... do you think it's amazing and groundbreaking or do you curse and turn off the record?

Um... yeah, I don't know why nobody else has responded to this. Great album, great review.
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Old 08-16-2007, 02:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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In Regards to the European Son Free Jam

I wouldn't call it groundbreaking and it's not my favorite part of the album, but I am glad they choose to end it like that. I understand the reasoning for doing so as Schwartz did not care for lyrics or repetitive melody in music, and I have often claimed that it was the fact that each song on the album was written with a specific purpose in mind that makes it such an effective collaboration despite it's eclectic nature.

Last edited by Son of JayJamJah; 08-16-2007 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 08-16-2007, 11:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Nice work. Cool album.

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Old 09-12-2007, 01:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My fav of this album is Venus In Furs

Man, that one is a brain scrambler
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:07 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well written. I agree with you as far as Heroin being my favorite track on the album.
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Old 11-09-2007, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Indeed, excellent review. John Cale has always been my fav member of the Velvets; his Island albums blow the best of Lou away imo
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Old 11-09-2007, 08:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Cool review. The Underground had a mix of art and music from their work with Warhol. Great band with a distinct sound.
I like the way comments on the way each side flows. That's a part of the lp experience.

While on acid in '67, Brian Jones locked Nico in a bathroom for three days. He shoved crackers under the door for her to eat. She wrote a song about it called: 'Janitor of tyranny'.
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Old 11-11-2007, 08:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Its not an immediate album but after a few listens it certainly pays off. Femme Fatale is one of the great heartbreak songs.

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Old 11-12-2007, 03:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by stakeraiser View Post
My fav of this album is Venus In Furs

Song is so good. I remember the first time hearing it, completely floored by it.
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