Sound — 8
It's criminal that there isn't a review of this album on here yet, so I better do the deed. Recorded in '66 and released 67, "The Velvet Underground And Nico" is a rare little gem that took a look at the peachy psychedelic music of the time and said "We're going to do something else". Probably the best way describe the sound is to take the dark out of The Doors, multiply that by two, the experimentalism of The Beatles, shave a little off the top and then mix in the musical sensibilities of the love child The Rolling Stones and Dylan, then stir them all together. Some will see brilliance, others will see an unholy mess. The weight of the album constantly shifts from psychedelic ("Venus In Furs") to bluesy rock ("Run, Run, Run"). The production is of the time, it's not great, the levels peak from time to time, but therein lies part of the charm.
Lyrics — 8
Lou Reed and Nico were never great vocalists, but their passion more than makes up for it. Lou has a Bob Dylan quality, while Nico sounds like a cross between Sweet Teen Girl and German Frau. Reed took most of the writing credits on this album. The lyrics mainly deal with the dark subject matter. Drugs, prostitution and sex tend to be the main themes. There is not a lot here for pop fans, which reflects in the lack of immediate success this album enjoyed at the time of release, it's not easily digested. These days however it regularly makes top 50 album lists, make of that what you will.
Overall Impression — 9
Music is such a subjective medium and this album is one of those that can cut a crowd like a discussion about politics and religion. You're either going to love it or hate it, there really isn't a lot of middle ground. I personally love the hell out of it, it has this constant uneasiness, like it's not comfortable in it's own skin and trying to untangle the complexities of life in a world where nothing makes much sense. Which I think is really a snap shot of the scene that gave birth to it. Andy Warhol managed the band at the time, if that gives you some context. He also crafted what I think is one of the greatest album covers of all time.