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Velvet Underground – Velvet Underground and Nico (1967)

December 10, 2011

[Album 2/1001]

This may be one of those albums that’s ‘still ahead of its time’ – I don’t understand the appeal…yet. 

There’s some intriguing intros to songs (Venus in Furs, There She Goes Again) and Nico’s voice is definitely unique.  My biggest issue isn’t that the album is good or bad, it’s just musically uninteresting.

However it can’t be all bad as it appears to have been an influence on The Smiths, primarily Morrissey & Johnny Marr.  

Morrissey included a Nico track in his 2003 Under the Influence collection.  In the liner notes, as only Morrissey could, he compares Nico’s voice to “the sound of a body being thrown out of a window.” 

Johnny Marr claims to have been “listening to what the Velvet Underground were listening to” (the Rolling Stones cover of Marvin Gaye’s Hitch Hike) when he played the opening of There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.

So maybe I’ll eventually see what they saw in the Velvet Underground & Nico, both the artists and album.

From → 1960s

  1. Jenn permalink

    Everyone I know who is a Velvet Underground fan also seems to be a scotch swilling, cigarette smoking type who enjoys morose times in darkly lit bars. Stereotype for sure, but maybe you’re just not drunk or moody enough to love it?

    PS. – awesome idea for a blog!

    • Many thanks! The VU reappear on the list a couple times – perhaps a change in setting is in order. At the very least, I’ll pour two fingers of a single malt to have during listening!

    • Holen permalink

      I don’t smoke or frequent bars and I think this is a fantastic album. The rock songs rock without any frills. There’s an edge to the music that really cuts through. A visceral experience. Then you get the spacey beauty of “Sunday Morning”, the simple catchiness of Nico’s songs, and some of the really intense more abstract pieces like “Venus in Furs”. It’s mesmerizing, the lyrics are a big part of it. Lou Reed is kind of singing here, which he’d give up on later in his career.

      • Thanks for the reminder to check out the other 2 VU albums on the list, Holen. I wouldn’t be surprised if I appreciate this album + group more now, revisiting it almost 9 years later!

  2. Influential? Yes. As someone said, it didn’t sell well but everyone who bought it started a band. Good? Not in my book. Up there with T-Rex, all punk bands etc on the list of most overrated acts.

    • I’m still waiting to become a Velvets fan as well – one day I might ‘get it’ until then, agreed!

  3. ianbalentine permalink

    It took me 25 years to “get it”, but now I couldn’t live without them. Maybe give Loaded a try.

    • Good to know – I had that switch go with Dylan a couple years ago, hopefully the Velvets are next!

      • ianbalentine permalink

        Dylan’s appeal evaded me for years. Then, one day, a friend gave me a copy of John Wesley Harding and it just clicked.

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