Album no. 77/1001
Nico is everyone’s favourite German model turned Warhol superstar turned singer, and this is her debut (and probably best known) album.
Nico is possibly best known from her contributions to The Velvet Underground and Nico. This album has songs by Lou Reed and John Cale from the velvets, as well as Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne, which is a fair crew. The album is named in reference to Andy Warhol’s movie Chelsea Girls, which came out the year before and had Nico in it.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I have listened to this a handful of times.
CL: The only stuff I know of Nico is when she’s with The Velvet Underground – we’ll get to that in a little bit – so no, I haven’t heard any of her solo work.
NK: I think it has to be ‘These Days’.
CL: ‘These Days’. What a tune! That combination of the strings with her voice? It’s next level. I don’t know where I’ve heard this song before! I’ve tried looking it up, but I can’t figure it out. Either way, it’s absolutely the best song on this album by a landslide.
NK: It’s in The Royal Tenenbaums I’m pretty sure. ‘These Days’ is actually a Jackson Browne song, but Nico recorded it before he did.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: When you’re getting off a bus in slow motion. I have mixed feelings about this album. The first two tracks are so good, but after that it gets a bit boring. What would you say is the third best song on the album? ‘Somewhere There’s A Feather’? It hard to pick another song I really liked.
CL: I totally agree with you. Probably should’ve just stopped after the first two tracks.
NK: I do like her voice to be fair, I should say that.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: I am a bit confused here, we’ve been in chronological order so far, but I would have sworn this came out after The Velvet Underground and Nico.
CL: You would be correct! They both came out in the same year, but this album came out in October of 1967, and The Velvet Underground came out in March. Interesting fact. The thing I liked best about this album was the string sections. Just these lovely interludes! That would’ve been pretty bizarre at the time surely, given everyone was getting into the “rock and or roll”.
NK: The arrangements on this are a little bit unusual, her vocals with simple guitar playing, but then all the strings and a flute layered on top (Nico hated the flute as well, from what I’ve read). There are also bits like the middle of ‘It Was A Pleasure Then’ where it’s been rolling along and suddenly lurches into dissonant guitar noise for thirty seconds. There are a couple of early Jackson Browne songs on it though, as well as the first recording (I think) or Bob Dylan’s ‘I’ll Keep It With Mine’. The first two tracks are great, but the others are more interesting than actually good.
Will you be listening again?
NK: Maybe not to the whole thing, but those first two are sensational.
CL: Yeah nah, just the first two for me.
Listen to Chelsea Girl on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.