Friday, April 21, 2006

#9 The Velvet Underground and Nico

Peel Slowly and See...

You really thought I wouldn't have this on hear? Especially since my dead radio show was named after the little text on the album? Interestingly enough, this has fallen from grace. Not by much, but this used to sit at #5. Times change, I guess, but that doesn't mean the famous Velvet Underground and Nico banana album has lost any of its candor. The thing that makes VU and Nico so good is its groundbreaking sound, intense style and its interesting twist on what pop music could be. In 1967, songs like "Venus in Furs" and "Heroin" with their dynamic avante-garde sound and risque lyrics were so groundbreaking, the album was a flop. No one could handle the new sound that music had taken on through the Cale/Reed combo that drives the band to its ultimate greatness. Nico, as much as she isn't necessary on this album, adds an amazing darkness to the album. Songs like "I'll Be Your Mirror" and "Femme Fatale" are so dark and beautiful, its hard to grasp sometimes. Regardless of this, the sheer sound the group built with violas, out tune guitars, simple drum beats and distortion were things that not many bands were tinkering with at the time. The door was open wide when the listener would peel it away, and we did see the future of music.

I know I did a track by track breakdown for OK Computer, but that is really tough for me to do with this album. It's not because I don't like the songs as much... that's just absurd. I just feel that these songs are really hard to describe to anyone without hearing them. The thing I love about VU and Nico is thinking about it in context with other things released in 1967. It might be I'm lazy as well, but when it comes to this album, it's just really hard for me to transcribe it. Another thing that makes this album so great is the fact that when I first listened to it, I really had no idea what to make of it. I had to listen to it a lot over and over again before I finally appreciated it for what it is. And this is what I love about music. It can be like Weezer and be just another great fun album or it can be like The Who and have some depth and rock out and ber silly at the same time, or it can be like VU and Nico and be a form of beautiful artwork that is listened to and appreciated for different reasons than other artists. That is why the Velvet Underground are important and thats why VU and Nico is a landmark and on this list.

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