The Velvet Underground And Nico Review

artist: The Velvet Underground date: 08/20/2012 category: compact discs
The Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground And Nico
Released: Jan 1967
Genre: Rock & Roll, Art Rock, Experimental Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Proto-Punk, Avant-Garde
Label: Verve
Number Of Tracks: 11 "The Velvet Underground & Nico" is the debut album by American rock band The Velvet Underground and vocal collaborator Nico.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.6
 Overall Impression: 9.2
 Overall rating:
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reviews (5) 14 comments vote for this album:
overall: 10
The Velvet Underground And Nico Reviewed by: Troy Simple, on march 16, 2004
4 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: Music innovation at its finest. Without a doubt one of the most innovative and most important rock records of all time. This album was recorded in 8 hours by the Velvet Underground. Under the production of Andy Warhol except for one track done by Tom Wilson. The Velvets had been going for 3 years before this release in 1967. The album was delayed six months due to its drug refrences. Led by singer/songwriter/genius Lou Reed and genius work of John Cale this album became one of the most important album of its time and virtually invented the Alternative music scene. // 10

Lyrics: Delayed six months because of lyrics involving drug, sex, and other riskay refrences. The Lyrics revolutionized what could be said on a rock and roll record. Dylan did it first, but Lou Reed and the rest of the Velvets perfected it. Nico an abstract artist brought in by producer Andy Warhol, (who agreed to produce and give the band their break if he could paint the cover of the album which is now a famous painting in itself) sang on only 4 tracks but her importance on this record is still felt greatly. No album ever has brought lyrics to such a higher level then this one. Before lyrics were censored in a way in most songs. Dylan, and the Beatles helped loosen that barrier while Lou Reed tore it down and declared to the Rock and Roll world that there were no longer rules. // 10

Overall Impression: Just a classic. Invented the Alternative scene and marks as one of the Greatest and most important albums of all time. This needed to be reviewed. The VU deserve praise. You here them all the time today in some way or another - you just don't know it. // 10

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overall: 9.3
The Velvet Underground And Nico Reviewed by: Drifting182, on july 22, 2008
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Velvet Underground were an outfit composed of guitarist/singer Lou Reed, violist/bassist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison and drummer Mo Tucker. They were joined on this album by German chanteuse Nico. The Velvets were arguably the first alternative band, taking elements of garage rock, avant-garde and Dylan and covering subjects from drugs (rather risque to be this blunt about drugs back in the 60s) to S&M (still risque today). The band were regulars at Andy Warhol's Factory back in the mid-60s. Eventually they managed to convince Warhol to sponsor their first album (hence his "production" credit here) and draw their cover art. He also designed a show for them (the Exploding Plastic Inevitable), which included Warhol film clips projected behind the band and S&M dancers whipping each other on stage. // 9

Lyrics: Oddly enough, the album starts off with one of the most beautiful pop songs ever written. "Sunday Morning" is accompanied by a prominent celesta and thick bass lines. Lou's lyrics here are mysterious but, well, normal-sounding, something that can't be said for a lot of the lyrics on this album. The way Lou's voice slowly disappears behind a wall of reverb before the solo is truly magical. Nico's backing vocals also add to the overall effect. Despite being released as a single, the song didn't lend to the band's commercial success. It would be a while before Lou would try another straight pop song. "I'm Waiting For the Man" marks the true beginning of the album. Cale lays down a simple, pounding piano part for Lou's story of meeting his dealer and all of the hazards that go with it. The song's repetition can make the song initially dull, but repeated listens will make it one of more enjoyable songs on the album. "Femme Fatale" is the first of 3 numbers sung by Nico here. Her voice is strikingly deep and can get on the nerves of some, but I find it fits in well with the song. The instrumental backing here is gentle. If not for Nico's less than tuneful voice it would have made a good single. "Venus in Furs" is Lou's S&M character assassination piece, though the song is Cale's baby. His electric viola drone is very prominent here, making this one of the more avant-garde songs here. Lou's lyrics are based off of a novel of the same name. The song's meaning can be difficult to decipher, but once you find out what it's about, it just seems kind of silly. "Run Run Run" is a simple garage rocker reminiscent of Bringing it All Back Home-era Dylan. The solo is a fun bastardization of Hendrix. "All Tomorrow's Parties" is Nico's second showcase here, featuring a repetitive piano pattern from Cale and an amateurish guitar part from Morrison. The song itself is decent material but Nico's droning vocals make it seem to drag for far too long. "Heroin" is based on two chords, at first strummed but arpgeggiated for the verses. The song spouts some of Lou's best lyrics about, well, heroin. Though Reed often wrote about drugs, he doesn't particularly glorify their use like a lot of songs in the Summer of Love did. Rather, he tells of the drug addict who can't cope, who wishes he was born a thousand years ago, who wishes he was dead when he's not "rushing on his run." Yes, it's a rather romantic take on drug use, but a more honest one than most. Eventually the gentle song gives way to a few minutes of searing guitar feedback and electric viola chaos while Lou starts ranting about even God not being able to help. The song is the best example of Lou's urban poetry. In contrast, the next couple songs are lightweight. "There She Goes Again" features falsetto vocals from Cale. "I'll Be Your Mirror" is the last of the Nico-sung tunes. It was arguably a love song Lou wrote for Nico and, in a twist of irony, had her sing. The last two tracks are largely forgettable. "The Black Angel's Death Song" features more viola droning ala Venus in Furs, but this time the subject matter is largely uninteresting. "European Son" is more or less an 8-minute version of the solo from "Run Run Run," which wasn't very memorable to begin with. // 10

Overall Impression: The sound of this album was a big influence on alternative music, and the authenticity of the lyrics greatly influenced punk rock. Not surprisingly, the album failed to gain much commercial success despite Warhol's backing. They would ditch Warhol and the EPI, along with Nico, for their next album White Light/White Heat before Cale's departure, after which the Reed-led band would move in a far more commercial direction. While those albums may be more accessible, this one is all the more rewarding. // 9

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overall: 8.7
The Velvet Underground And Nico Reviewed by: poochy, on february 20, 2007
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 10

Lyrics: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 8.3
The Velvet Underground And Nico Reviewed by: pinkfloydfish, on july 31, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Velvet Underground certainly had a unique sound. The Velvet Underground and Nico starts out with a pop song called Sunday Morning. The song is calming and has a dream-like quality that is a good introduction for the album. It then kicks up the tempo with I'm Waiting for the Man, with a driving beat. Throughout the album they use a viola, an interesting instrument to include in rock music. They also experimented extensively and really opened up doors that had never been opened before. The guitar solos certainly work with the genre. They are quite experimental and sometimes almost jarring, but creative and daring at the same time. // 8

Lyrics: Lou Reed wrote lyrics that were years ahead of their time, including some controversial topics, even a few that are still controversial today. The music always goes along with the music, capturing the mood and emphasizing the meaning of the lyrics. Lou Reed's vocals are average, I'd say. Not bad, not good. And Nico's are certainly different. Very low for a woman, her voice can take some getting used to, but it fits well with the music. // 7

Overall Impression: This album is often considered the most influential album of all time. It was famously said of this album that although not many people bought it when it was released, every person who did was inspired to start their own band. Their sound was revolutionary, creative, different, and avante-garde. This album was the main predecessor for punk, alternative, and many other genres that came in the '70s and later. The best song on this album is Heroin, in my opinion at least. The best part about this song is that instead of glorifying drug use, as is usually the case, it shows it from a more realistic perspective, where the user isn't happy about what he is doing and feels despair. Some of the other best songs are I'm Waiting For The Man, Venus In Furs, and The Black Angel's Death Song. But all of them are pretty good. If you want to really understand and appreciate music, I strongly suggest you become acquainted with The Velvet Underground. It's definitely worth buying! // 10

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overall: 8.3
The Velvet Underground And Nico Reviewed by: Battery Chicken, on august 20, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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