The tracks on this album were recorded between Velvet Underground's third album and Loaded, their fourth. Many of the songs later surfaced on Lou Reed solo albums.
VU offers great listening but it's not up there with the Warhol album or White Light/White Heat. It sees the band in a more melodic phase, somewhat like the 3rd album and demonstrates Reed's evolving lyrical genius.
John Cale features on only two tracks, Stephanie Says and Temptation Inside Your Heart. For the rest, it's Lou, Maureen, Sterling and Doug. My favorites include the wistful Stephanie Says with its elegiac feel and lilting melody, the hypnotic Temptation Inside Your Heart, Andy's Chest and One Of These Days with its guitar cascades.
I'm Sticking With You has a certain poppy charm, whilst the bass-driven I Can't Stand It does capture some of the early raw energy and Ocean is a wonderful atmospheric ballad with beautiful vocals.
VU is an album for the fans. Those who wish to investigate this great band for the first time ought to start with the first or third albums.