The Velvet Underground And Nico review by The Velvet Underground

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1974
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (57 votes)
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground And Nico

Sound — 10
I first downloaded a few "choice" songs from iTunes, one being "Heroin". When I first listened to Heroin, I thought "WTF? Feedback? A viola? No bass? That drummer's not even in time!" and those songs sat neglected in my iTunes library. a few months later, and my friend and I were in the local record store, and I bought the album for the sheer fact that it had a cool banana on the cover. I then forced myself to listen to the album, and it definitely grew on me. This album definitely is not your run-of-the-mill mid-sixties album. While Grace Slick was singing about wanting "Someone To Love", Lou Reed was singing about everything that was "true" in life. Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll. And While the Grateful dead were releasing albums with every chord shape available, The Velvets used essentially 2 Chords. You might think they're crazy. They Are.

Lyrics — 8
Lou Reed was a very creative lyricist. While many of the songs are of the same theme, drugs and masochism all around, they are still very different. Heroin is a prime example of amazing lyricism and musicianship. In Heroin, Lou sings about the ups and downs of heroin addiction, but never advocates, or does not advocate the use. As he sings, John Cale's plays a constant "d" on his viola while the guitars and drums speed up, representing the rush of heroin. As the user gets deeper and deeper into his addiction, things start to fall apart, as does the song. At the songs climax, Cale screeches upper notes while the guitars and drums play out of rhythm and settles out to the way it was before. Many of the songs are very emotive like this, and although Lou Reed doesn't have very pleasant sounding voice, he is very emotive, and you can really relate to his "common" voice. Nico, however is another story. Nico was plainly aweful, her voice was monotone and had a plain ugly voice.

Overall Impression — 8
This album has so many amazing songs, that are so different, it cannot compare to anything else. Heroin, Venus in Furs, Sunday Morning, and There She Goes Again are very beautiful songs, but the Velvets are an "acquired taste", so others opinions may be different. The only things that I don't like about the album are the songs that Nico sang. Reed wrote these so that Nico could sing, and then they were spat upon by Nico's crude voice. Despite, I would definitely buy this again if it were lost or stolen.

6 comments sorted by best / new / date

    this album is going to go out on a limb here, but in my opinon this album did more for music than Sgt. Pepper's (which is another truly incredible peice of art) released in the same year.
    the glue man
    All Tomorrow's Parties is my favorite song. It's the name of the first chapter in Please Kill Me too, I thought it fit pretty well.
    You think "Loaded" is their best? Wow. That's not even the same band. Or the same approach to making music. I guess it's all in what you're looking for. Personally, I think the third, self-titled album is their best, but again- that was also a different band. If you ask me, Cales viola ruins some of the songs. I appreciate the avant-garde as much as anyone, but for the time it was made, a little less would have been just as effective. Oh yeah- Sonic Youth? I cover one of their songs by sticking a cats weiner in a light socket. Then I call it "art", and try to make anyone who disagrees feel inferior for not being cool enough to understand it. Sonic Youth. Feh.
    amazing album, way ahead of it's time. in my opinion Sonic Youth does better feedback, but the songs on VU&N are stunningly pretty, just listen to "Sunday Morning." and I wouldn't say Nico's voice is "crude," she sings well but she just has that thick accent. "I'll be your mirror" is her best.
    Kratos Aurion
    Nico sang three songs - "Sunday Morning" was sung by Moe Tucker. Nico sang "Femme Fatale", "All Tommorow's Partys" and "I'll be your Mirror". Reed's Lyrics are certainly not "better" than Dylan's. He didn't "perfect" them, he just did it less symbolic but more radical. He often tries to sing a little bit like him too (Run, Run, Run; There She Goes Again; Waiting For My Man). A classic record without any doubt but i still think "Loaded" is their best