12 March 2013

12th March - The Velvet Underground's The Velvet Underground & Nico

Artist – Album: The Velvet Underground – The Velvet Underground & Nico
Released:  12th March 1967         
Sounds Like: Top banana

The Velvet Underground & Nico cover art consists of a white background and a large yellow banana. I’ve read elsewhere that this yellow herb is the perfect symbol of what is represented within, decadent and sexual. You can run with that if you want but I’m not convinced. Admittedly they can be quite phallic, although I’m not sure about decadent – I have one for my breakfast every morning and I’m hardly a millionaire (yet). But I can’t help but just think that it’s a banana. It is just a banana. It was pop art genius Andy Warhol’s contribution to the sleeve art and I’m sure that this is what lends it some of it’s intrigue, but had his world famous painting of a soup can been on another album, I’m sure I would still be questioning it’s validity. Whatever the reason however, I can’t deny that this is one of the most iconic albums of all time.
Most of that success is of course nothing to do with Mr Warhol’s doodles, as the music contained within was an incredibly influential bout of art rock, made palatable by the groups prodigious musicality and Lou Reed’s bizarre tales of the strange characters that orbited around Warhol. ‘Sunday Morning’ is about a paranoid comedown, hidden behind a lullaby-like glockenspiel. In ‘I’m Waiting for the Man’ the man in question is the drug dealer. ‘Venus in Furs’ is about fetishes. ‘Femme Fatale’ about maneaters. ‘Heroin’ about heroin (duh). This is fascinating, surreal stuff for the majority of us.
The music is different too. Back in 1967, most records followed pretty firm stylistic lines; genres weren’t crossed too regularly. But if we go back over those aforementioned tracks we get: lullaby, garage rock, baroque pop, pop rock, experimental rock (emphasize mental).  The result is one of the greatest albums of all time, one which was bought by few but influenced many, and one which still sounds amazing today. An album I think could be represented by something better than a banana.
Albumaday... rating: 10/10

1.       Sunday Morning – 2:54
2.       I’m Waiting for the Man – 4:39
3.       Femme Fatale – 2:38
4.       Venus in Furs – 5:12
5.       Run Run Run – 4:22
6.       All Tomorrow’s Parties – 6:00
7.       Heroin – 7:12
8.       There She Goes Again – 2:41
9.       I’ll Be Your Mirror – 2:14
10.   The Black Angel’s Death Song – 3:11
11.   European Son – 7:46

Listen to ‘I’m Waiting for the Man’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOmZimH00oo

Also released on the 12th March:
1991: R.E.M – Out of Time
Also released on the 12th March:
2001: Daft Punk – Discovery

Also released on the 12th March:
2007: LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

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