Album no. 91/1001
Back we go to Warhol’s factory! Guest-starring Nico (of Chelsea Girl fame), this is the Velvet Underground’s debut album, and they’ve come out hot.
This album has a couple of the band’s best-known tracks, and a few that are not quite as easily found in the wild.
It was ‘produced’ by Andy Warhol, although it’s claimed he did very little besides pay for the sessions and crowbar Nico in as a singer. She only sings on three tracks here (plus backups on ‘Sunday Morning’) which is not a lot for the title artist.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: I SURE HAVE.
CL: I have, once or twice a reeeeally long time ago. I don’t really remember much of it, so it can’t have had much of an impact on my younger self.
NK: I love ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’, the frantic piano going a million miles an hour while everything else is in slow motion. That’s my favourite.
CL: MY YOUNGER SELF WAS AN IDIOT. THIS IS GREAT. It’s blowing my mind. I still have a soft spot for ‘Femme Fatale’, but songs I previously would’ve dismissed have really wormed themselves into my brain. ‘Venus in Furs’ has that awesome sounding violin, ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties’ and that piano – there’s a lot of EXCELLENT stuff on here!
NK: Don’t sell your current self short mate (still an idiot). I like ‘Sunday Morning’ a lot as well, all sweet and cute, sounding like a music box. Pretty big jump from that to ‘I’m Waiting for the Man’, which starts out strong and doesn’t stop. Might have been a bit dull playing drums. I like most of the tracks on this to be honest.
CL: ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’ is just wonderful as well. Nico sounds WAY better here than she does on her own album. Oh it’s really difficult to pick a standout here! I can probably live without ‘The Black Angel’s Death Song’ though.
NK: What did you think of ‘European Son’? About a minute of electric folk followed by six and a bit minutes of frenetic guitar noise. I quite like it.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: This used to be a hangover album for me. Put it on and force yourself to do something useful. Something about how abrasive it is really helps with a self-inflicted sore head.
CL: I’ve listened to this doing all sorts of things, but I’ve found it most enlightening early in the morning.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: It’s pretty good. Other bands have been weird and abrasive (hello Black Monk Time), but nobody else has been as varied or had the same quality of songs.
CL: For so many reasons, but mostly because it sounds like a classic. It has a timeless quality – it’s the sort of music that could’ve been made this year, or 10 years ago, or 30 years ago. I am absolutely not shocked this didn’t find success at the time. It’s full-on. But my goodness you can see who it’s influenced – LITERALLY EVERYONE.
Will you be listening again?
CL: Yes. Yes I most definitely will. It keeps getting better with each listen. Even the weird ones like ‘European Son’.
NK: If you enjoyed that just wait until we get to ‘White Light White Heat’.
Listen to The Velvet Underground and Nico on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.