Velvet Underground & Nico [Limited Edition]

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Thirty-five years after it was originally released, the debut album from this groundbreaking band can still send chills down the spine -- all while sounding fresher than just about any of the scores of imitators to have emerged in their wake. This double-your-pleasure repackaging offers both the stereo and mono mixes of the album, the latter a dark, foreboding version preferred by the band at the time. Both renderings have their appeal: The more commonly heard stereo mix emphasizes the power generated by Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison's scrabbling guitars on "Heroin" and the surreal soundscapes that poured forth from John Cale's viola "Black Angel's Death Song", while ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Thirty-five years after it was originally released, the debut album from this groundbreaking band can still send chills down the spine -- all while sounding fresher than just about any of the scores of imitators to have emerged in their wake. This double-your-pleasure repackaging offers both the stereo and mono mixes of the album, the latter a dark, foreboding version preferred by the band at the time. Both renderings have their appeal: The more commonly heard stereo mix emphasizes the power generated by Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison's scrabbling guitars on "Heroin" and the surreal soundscapes that poured forth from John Cale's viola "Black Angel's Death Song", while the stark mono version focuses the songs' nascent claustrophobia, emphasizing the degree to which the Velvets were removed from their Day-Glo Summer of Love peers. The first disc in this set appends five songs from Nico's Chelsea Girl album on which she's backed by Reed, Cale, and Morrison; the second disc is rounded out by single edits of four songs that -- to no one's surprise -- didn't exactly tear up the AM radio charts "All Tomorrow's Parties"/"I'll Be Your Mirror" and "Sunday Morning"/"Femme Fatale". The package includes lyrics and detailed liner notes, and the discs are housed in a replica of Andy Warhol's original packaging -- the limited edition even replicates his famous peelable banana design. Having proven its timeless appeal, The Velvet Underground and Nico remains as visceral as ever.
Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Thirty-five years after it was originally released, the debut album from this groundbreaking band can still send chills down the spine -- all while sounding fresher than just about any of the scores of imitators to have emerged in their wake. This double-your-pleasure repackaging offers both the stereo and mono mixes of the album, the latter a dark, foreboding version preferred by the band at the time. Both renderings have their appeal: The more commonly heard stereo mix emphasizes the power generated by Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison's scrabbling guitars on "Heroin" and the surreal soundscapes that poured forth from John Cale's viola "Black Angel's Death Song", while the stark mono version focuses the songs' nascent claustrophobia, emphasizing the degree to which the Velvets were removed from their Day-Glo Summer of Love peers. The first disc in this set appends five songs from Nico's Chelsea Girl album on which she's backed by Reed, Cale, and Morrison; the second disc is rounded out by single edits of four songs that -- to no one's surprise -- didn't exactly tear up the AM radio charts "All Tomorrow's Parties"/"I'll Be Your Mirror" and "Sunday Morning"/"Femme Fatale". The package includes lyrics and detailed liner notes, and the discs are housed in a replica of Andy Warhol's original packaging -- the limited edition even replicates his famous peelable banana design. Having proven its timeless appeal, The Velvet Underground and Nico remains as visceral as ever.
All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The "deluxe edition" of the Velvet Underground's classic debut album is somewhat disappointing in that it fails to offer any previously unreleased material, even as it expands its length from one to two CDs. The key bonus is the inclusion of both the stereo and mono versions of the album, which fill up most of disc one and disc two, respectively. To fill out the program, disc one also includes the five songs from Nico's first album, 1967's Chelsea Girl, in which Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Nico were involved in the songwriting; disc two adds the 45 rpm single versions of "All Tomorrow's Parties," "I'll Be Your Mirror," "Sunday Morning," and "Femme Fatale." To be frank, the differences between the stereo and mono versions are not major enough to be noticed by most listeners, although hardcore collectors will probably appreciate the opportunity to pick up a mono version rather than ante up for an expensive original mono LP. The five Nico songs, though quite good, are easily available on Chelsea Girl itself. Finally, the differences between the 45 rpm single versions and album ones are quite minor: "All Tomorrow's Parties" is heard in an edited version that reduces its running time by half, and "Sunday Morning" has a little bit of studio chatter at the very beginning. More significantly, "I'll Be Your Mirror" does not fade out as it does on the album, but goes on for five additional seconds, coming to a rounded ending on a guitar chord. That's about the most notable musical bonus on this package, and it's a pretty steep price to pay for two CDs worth of material much of which many interested in the Velvet Underground will already have just to hear that. The booklet has a reasonable overview essay and lyrics, but isn't that huge or detailed, and again offers little that intense fans of the album and band wouldn't already know. This is great music, of course, as many critics have noted, innovative in its lyrical exploration of drugs, sex, the psychology of romance, and urban decadence, musically explosive in both the assaultive avant-garde construction of its louder numbers and the magnificent melodies of its ballads, and filled with great songs like "I'll Be Your Mirror," "All Tomorrow's Parties," "Venus in Furs," "Femme Fatale," and "The Black Angel's Death Song" not to mention the Nico solo tunes of an only slightly lower caliber, like "Chelsea Girls" and "It Was a Pleasure Then". But it's not something that you really need if you already own The Velvet Underground & Nico, unless you're a truly major devotee. By the way, there is a limited edition version that, like the original LP, has a peelable banana on the cover, though the packaging with the track listing on a plastic case is set up so that you'll probably end up peeling it whether you want to or not when you slide the album in and out of the case.

The "deluxe edition" of the Velvet Underground's classic debut album is somewhat disappointing in that it fails to offer any previously unreleased material, even as it expands its length from one to two CDs. The key bonus is the inclusion of both the stereo and mono versions of the album, which fill up most of disc one and disc two, respectively. To fill out the program, disc one also includes the five songs from Nico's first album, 1967's Chelsea Girl, in which Lou Reed, John Cale, Sterling Morrison, and Nico were involved in the songwriting; disc two adds the 45 rpm single versions of "All Tomorrow's Parties," "I'll Be Your Mirror," "Sunday Morning," and "Femme Fatale." To be frank, the differences between the stereo and mono versions are not major enough to be noticed by most listeners, although hardcore collectors will probably appreciate the opportunity to pick up a mono version rather than ante up for an expensive original mono LP. The five Nico songs, though quite good, are easily available on Chelsea Girl itself. Finally, the differences between the 45 rpm single versions and album ones are quite minor: "All Tomorrow's Parties" is heard in an edited version that reduces its running time by half, and "Sunday Morning" has a little bit of studio chatter at the very beginning. More significantly, "I'll Be Your Mirror" does not fade out as it does on the album, but goes on for five additional seconds, coming to a rounded ending on a guitar chord. That's about the most notable musical bonus on this package, and it's a pretty steep price to pay for two CDs worth of material much of which many interested in the Velvet Underground will already have just to hear that. The booklet has a reasonable overview essay and lyrics, but isn't that huge or detailed, and again offers little that intense fans of the album and band wouldn't already know. This is great music, of course, as many critics have noted, innovative in its lyrical exploration of drugs, sex, the psychology of romance, and urban decadence, musically explosive in both the assaultive avant-garde construction of its louder numbers and the magnificent melodies of its ballads, and filled with great songs like "I'll Be Your Mirror," "All Tomorrow's Parties," "Venus in Furs," "Femme Fatale," and "The Black Angel's Death Song" not to mention the Nico solo tunes of an only slightly lower caliber, like "Chelsea Girls" and "It Was a Pleasure Then". But it's not something that you really need if you already own The Velvet Underground & Nico, unless you're a truly major devotee. By the way, there is a limited edition version that, like the original LP, has a peelable banana on the cover, though the packaging with the track listing on a plastic case is set up so that you'll probably end up peeling it whether you want to or not when you slide the album in and out of the case.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/25/2002
  • Label: Polydor / Umgd
  • UPC: 731458958826
  • Catalog Number: 589588

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sunday Morning
  2. 2 I'm Waiting for the Man
  3. 3 Femme Fatale
  4. 4 Venus in Furs
  5. 5 Run Run Run
  6. 6 All Tomorrow's Parties
  7. 7 Heroin
  8. 8 There She Goes Again
  9. 9 I'll Be Your Mirror
  10. 10 The Black Angel's Death Song
  11. 11 European Son
  12. 12 Little Sister
  13. 13 Winter Song
  14. 14 It Was a Pleasure Then
  15. 15 Chelsea Girls
  16. 16 Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams
Disc 2
  1. 1 Sunday Morning
  2. 2 I'm Waiting for the Man
  3. 3 Femme Fatale
  4. 4 Venus in Furs
  5. 5 Run Run Run
  6. 6 All Tomorrow's Parties
  7. 7 Heroin
  8. 8 There She Goes Again
  9. 9 I'll Be Your Mirror
  10. 10 The Black Angel's Death Song
  11. 11 European Son
  12. 12 All Tomorrow's Parties
  13. 13 I'll Be Your Mirror
  14. 14 Sunday Morning
  15. 15 Femme Fatale
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Velvet Underground Primary Artist
John Cale Bass, Piano, Celeste, Background Vocals, Electric Viola
Lou Reed Guitar, Electric Guitar, Vocals
Maureen Tucker Percussion
Larry Fallon Conductor
Sterling Morrison Bass, Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Background Vocals
Technical Credits
The Velvet Underground Arranger
Larry Fallon Arranger
David Greene Remixing
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Gene Radice Remixing
Moe Tucker Composer
Val Valentin Director Of Engineering
Andy Warhol Producer, Cover Painting
Tom Wilson Producer
Gary Kellgren Engineer
Norman Dolph Engineer
Omi Haden Engineer
John Licata Engineer
Vartan Art Direction
Acy Lehman Cover Design
John Wilcock Liner Notes
Jeff Willens Mastering
Dave Thompson Liner Notes
David Antim Liner Notes
Jonas Mekas Liner Notes
Richard Goldstein Liner Notes
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Royal reissue of watershed LP

    Of the many impressive facets of the Velvet Underground¿s debut, perhaps the most impressive of all is how completely undated it sounds. While those who followed in the VU¿s footsteps often sounded retro -- often purposefully so -- this gritty, thirty-five year-old creation seems not to have aged a day. <br><br> Polydor¿s latest double-disc reissue collects both the mono and stereo mixes of the original album, digitally remastered, and adds contemporaneous singles and a quintet of VU-powered tracks from Nico¿s subsequent <I>Chelsea Girl</I> album. The package is enveloped in a foldout digipack (with or without peelable banana artwork), with a thick booklet that includes newly penned liner notes from Dave Thompson, photos, song lyrics and recording credits. <br><br> Of particular interest to U.S. buyers is the mono album mix, previously available only outside the U.S. This is the band¿s vision of the album, later remixed into stereo by MGM staff producer (and, at the time, Simon & Garfunkel producer) Tom Wilson. The mono version is tougher, and in the opinion of the band¿s label at the time, too limiting for American audiences (both for its intensity, and for the US¿s burgeoning interest in stereo). The difference in atmosphere is a terrific lesson in how mixing affects an album, and how visceral mono recordings can be. <br><br> The bonus tracks include five sides waxed by Nico with the original lineup of the Velvet Underground for her solo debut. Recorded in April 1967, they followed the band¿s original recording dates by exactly a year (the VU debut, recorded in April 1966, did not see release until March of the following year). The songs, from Reed, Cale and Sterling Morrison are rendered lightly, with strings and flutes (apparently much to Nico¿s displeasure), a minimum of Reed¿s guitar, and no drums. The VU¿s more ferocious and dissonant side really only turns up on ''It Was a Pleasure Then.'' Combining these sides with the original album provides a nice opportunity to listen to the original VU lineup¿s entire ouevre. <br><br> The singles offer a chance to hear ''All Tomorrow¿s Parties'' shaved down from it¿s original 5:58 to a 45¿s worth of 2:49. Less radically, the single release of ''I¿ll Be Your Mirror'' resolves chord, rather than fades as on the album. Even more minor is the two seconds of what seems to be engineer¿s chatter (announcing the tape roll) that precedes the single release of ''Sunday Morning.'' The fetishism of collecting these minute differences seems like a natural fit for VU fans. <br><br> Those looking to hear this watershed album for the first time will likely be just as happy with the single-disc 1996 reissue. For those who¿ve loved (and lived) this album over the last thirty-five years, the opportunity to view it from a new angle shouldn¿t be passed up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Another great Velvet offering..

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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