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156) Velvet Underground & Nico

The Velvet Underground are one of the most influential bands ever who released five albums (although all original members were gone by the time of their final release) and is where we first encounter Lou Reed and John Cale.

 

It has become one of the most revered albums ever with its Andy Warhol cover and eleven songs that show a wide breadth and style,

 

Sunday Morning has Reed’s vocal slowly hooking us in a dream like state as the band chime along in the background.

 

I’m Waiting for the Man is a classic a lovely chugging riff, with the drums and bass marching along it has a glorious pounding piano that steps up at the end and Reed showing he can deliver a punk/pop like vocal if needed.

 

Nico makes her lead appearance on Femme Fatale, not a pop singer, a beautifully haunting voice and the bands almost shouted backing vocals work surprisingly well. Rumours are that Reed didn’t want her in the band, but she is a strong addition to this record.

 

John Cale’s viola makes Venus in Furs, mysterious, eastern, funeral like. Run, Run, Run is a straightforward rock n roll song enhanced by a brilliant guitar solo as again we are exploring heroin, a recurring theme.

 

Nico’s back for All Tomorrow’s Parties, I love Cale’s piano throughout this song and Heroin picks up the pace two minutes thirty second in and then slows back down, it’s a song that ebbs and flows and again Cale’s viola is wild, its structure is all over the place but maybe that’s the point of a song about heroin.

 

There She Goes Again is wonderful in its simplistic style and Nico’s final lead vocal I’ll Be Your Mirror is a clear love song and she captures Reed’s song perfectly.

 

The Black Angel’s Death Song has never caught for me, I can see people saying it’s their favourite, but I have tried. European Son starts well with a wonderful riff then we have smashed sounds and the band go off on one for six minutes, I would suggest maybe for too long but who am I to quibble with greatness.

 

9/10  

 

GIVE IT A STREAM: I’m Waiting for the Man

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