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Velvet Underground & Nico
     

The Velvet Underground & Nico

4.8 9
by The Velvet Underground
 

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On one song, Nico gently croons, "I'll be your mirror/ Reflect what you are/ In case you don't know," while on another Lou Reed grumbles, "I'm waiting for my man/ Twenty-six dollars in my hand/ Up to Lexington, one-two-five/ Feel sick and dirty/ More dead than alive." The Velvet Underground delighted in bringing to light the things people

Overview

On one song, Nico gently croons, "I'll be your mirror/ Reflect what you are/ In case you don't know," while on another Lou Reed grumbles, "I'm waiting for my man/ Twenty-six dollars in my hand/ Up to Lexington, one-two-five/ Feel sick and dirty/ More dead than alive." The Velvet Underground delighted in bringing to light the things people felt but denied about themselves -- and in doing so became one of the most influential bands of all time. The members -- Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Moe Tucker, and, for this 1967 recording only, Nico -- were part of Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable, and that association gave them license to experiment with feedback and distortion in their music and taboo subject matter in their lyrics, with "Heroin" romanticizing the pleasures of smack and "Venus in Furs" exploring the role-playing and intricacies of S&M. Warhol had never produced a recording before, so he used his imprimatur -- in this case the classic banana cover -- to ward off interference. Brian Eno once said that only a few dozen people bought this record -- but that all of them were then inspired to start their own band.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
One would be hard-pressed to name a rock album whose influence has been as broad and pervasive as The Velvet Underground & Nico. While it reportedly took over a decade for the album's sales to crack six figures, glam, punk, new wave, goth, noise, and nearly every other left-of-center rock movement owes an audible debt to this set. While The Velvet Underground had as distinctive a sound as any band, what's most surprising about this album is its diversity. Here, the Velvets dipped their toes into dreamy pop ("Sunday Morning"), tough garage rock ("Waiting for the Man"), stripped-down R&B ("There She Goes Again"), and understated love songs ("I'll Be Your Mirror") when they weren't busy creating sounds without pop precedent. Lou Reed's lyrical exploration of drugs and kinky sex (then risky stuff in film and literature, let alone "teen music") always received the most press attention, but the music Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Maureen Tucker played was as radical as the words they accompanied. The bracing discord of "European Son," the troubling beauty of "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the expressive dynamics of "Heroin" all remain as compelling as the day they were recorded. While the significance of Nico's contributions have been debated over the years, she meshes with the band's outlook in that she hardly sounds like a typical rock vocalist, and if Andy Warhol's presence as producer was primarily a matter of signing the checks, his notoriety allowed The Velvet Underground to record their material without compromise, which would have been impossible under most other circumstances. Few rock albums are as important as The Velvet Underground & Nico, and fewer still have lost so little of their power to surprise and intrigue more than 40 years after first hitting the racks.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/07/1996
Label:
Polydor / Umgd
UPC:
0731453125025
catalogNumber:
531250
Rank:
9091

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Velvet Underground   Primary Artist
John Cale   Bass,Piano,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Viola,Electric Viola
Nico   Vocals,Chant
Lou Reed   Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Maureen Tucker   Bass,Percussion,Drums
Sterling Morrison   Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Rhythm Guitar

Technical Credits

John Cale   Composer
Lou Reed   Composer
Velvet Underground   Arranger
David Greene   Remixing
Gene Radice   Remixing
Moe Tucker   Composer
Val Valentin   Director Of Engineering
Andy Warhol   Producer,Cover Painting
Tom Wilson   Producer,Contributor
Omi Haden   Engineer
Acy Lehman   Cover Design
John Wilcock   Liner Notes
David Antim   Liner Notes
Jonas Mekas   Liner Notes

Customer Reviews

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The Velvet Underground & Nico 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This collection is an amazingly diverse one that truly gives a glipmse into the range and talent of this most influential band. The Velvets pioneered the sound defined as alternative in the early to mid 90's. Their influence also spread to avant garde music. Their musical melody lines have a wonderful ambient feel that still maintains a heated driving force. Reed's vocals seem free flowing and labored at the same time. The velvet's can play soft and pretty melodies and have them ripped wide open with screeching distortion techniques. I believe that Nico turns this complete band from amazing to truly special. Here ghostly tone almost always sung in a minor key ads an ethereal wandering sound to the songs she sings on. She is at the same time cold, almost emotionless as well blisteringly sexual. Her sound seems very crisp and bereft, but the subtle tinge of feeling makes it barrenly beautiful. If you are a music fan and do not possess a Velvet Underground record, this may be a good start. But hands down you need a Velvet album in your collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago