VU review by The Velvet Underground

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  • Released: Jan 1, 1990
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9 (1 vote)
The Velvet Underground: VU

Sound — 10
MGM Records was purging their less profitable acts, the band was released from their contract causing this album to be shelved and remain unheard for many years. This would have been the fourth album by the band, the second MGM album after their 1969 self-titled "The Velvet Underground." This was originally record from February 13, 1968 - October 1, 1969 and put together in this outtakes compilation album. The rest of the tracks that were found were released on "Another View" in 1986 after discovering nineteen tracks that were unreleased. This album peaked at #85 upon release which was the band's best placing. The material on here is just as thrilling and perfect as their eponymous going for a more accessible style and it definitely worked here, I still love their avant-garde, dark psychedelia stuff better but I still find this stuff just as excellent.

Lyrics — 10
"VU" is a selection from the 1969 tracks as well as two previously unreleased Cale-era songs - "Temptation Inside Your Heart" and "Stephanie Says" which remains to be one of my favorite tracks off the album having that '60s glockenspiel of the same likeliness of "Sunday Morning" which was the Cale era actually having John Cale on a celesta and viola along with bass guitar. When The Velvet Underground was moving from MGM to Atlantic they rerecorded two of the songs on "VU," "Ocean" and "I'm Sticking With You" for possible inclusion on "Loaded" but the tracks didn't make it. Six of the songs on this album have become a staple for Lou Reed and commonly used throughout his career "I Can't Stand It," "Lisa Says" and "Ocean" on "Lou Reed," 1972; "Andy's Chest" on "Transformer," 1972; "Stephanie Says" (as "Caroline Says II") on "Berlin," 1973; and "She's My Best Friend" on "Coney Island Baby," 1976.

Overall Impression — 10
There is an eloquence of the third album definitely visible here. "Lisa Says," "Ocean," and "Stephanie Says" are some of Lou Reed's greatest ballads; "I Can't Stand It" is one of the Velvet's toughest and best conventional hard rock songs. Some of the other tunes are slight (if engaging) in comparison with the Velvet's prime work although still retaining a mild proto punk feel whilst being largely pop/rock, that being said though, this is an all around excellent album. The only album I find to be actually bad in the whole studio Velvet Underground discography is "Squeeze" and because it's practically not even the same band anymore, other than that all of their albums are pretty grade A I would say and this definitely can show you a great band with something special happening when they all get together and play. Personally, overall my favourite Velvet Underground record is "VU," it's loaded with some truly great songs that might have changed the perception of the band in 1969, as it might have had commercial potential, so it's too bad it took so long for these tracks to become available in their more or less original form.

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