Cale was out, Yule was in, but all that mattered was that Reed came up with some of the most stirring songs of his career on this 1969 LP. The rockers What Goes On and Beginning to See the Light join the beautiful Pale Blue Eyes; Jesus; I'm Set Free , and more essential VU!
Released in 1969 to an almost total lack of critical acclaim or consumer interest, the Velvet Underground's third album may well be the finest record of the band's career. Without the sonic terrorism of The Velvet Underground & Nico
and White Light/White Heat
or the ill-conceived commercial concessions that marred Loaded
, the album's songs are free to stand on their own merit. And stand they do: "What Goes On" and "Beginning to See the Light" may be the finest flat-out rockers in the band's catalogue, while "Pale Blue Eyes", "Jesus", and "Candy Says" are some of the most delicately gorgeous songs Lou Reed has ever penned. There's no evidence here of any of the psychedelic effects and hippie sloganeering that marked most late-1960s rock releases, which is probably why the record still holds up today. --Dan Epstein