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White Light/White Heat

Velvet Underground Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.83 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

White Light/White Heat + Velvet Underground + And Nico
Price For All Three: CDN$ 28.46

  • Velvet Underground CDN$ 10.65
  • And Nico CDN$ 6.98

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought

Product Details

1. White Light/White Heat
2. The Gift
3. Lady Godiva's Operation
4. Here She Comes Now
5. I Heard Her Call My Name
6. Sister Ray

Product Description


Nothing in their debut could really have prepared fans for the sonic assault the Velvets unleashed in White Light/White Heat. Freed from Andy Warhol's patronage (and Nico's vocals), Lou Reed and company strip production values to a minimum and turn out a primitive rock & roll masterpiece: Everything on this record sounds distorted and abrasive. Depending on how you feel about these sorts of things, this makes it either their best or their worst record. Of course, underneath it all are some of Reed's greatest songs, from the title track to the wistful "Here She Comes Now". It all culminates on side two with the raucously joyous "I Heard Her Call My Name" ("And then my mind split open," Reed sings and his guitar lets you know just about how that would feel) and the epic "Sister Ray"--10 minutes of transcendent, pounding fuzz as Reed searches for his "mainline." --Percy Keegan

Product Description

VELVET UNDERGROUND White Light White Heat (1989 German 6-track CD issue of the 1968 album the bands final release with John Cale including the epic Sister Ray picture sleeve)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I really don't know what to say. For me, this was it. The moment I turned it on, everything I'd ever known about conventional modern pop music was tossed out the window (defenestrated, if you will). But the question still remains: Of the two relevant VU albums (the ones with Cale), which is better?
I've argued with my friends and even myself and have concluded that the Velvets' fusion of avant-garde and rock n' roll is at its peak on White Light/White Heat, and it's dark energy may never be matched.
The distorted guitars and of "Run, Run, Run" have been turned up louder and the band rocks out with the messiness of "European Son" while the subject matter of sex, drugs and transexuals is preached over the music. Lou Reed never played guitar like this again, almost as if Cale's mind took over his hands. Some of his guitar solos are almost comparable to free jazz (I've read that other places, too), specifically on "I Heard Her Call My Name."
"The Gift" is pure sexual tension, and Cale's voice is perfect for reading the story over the band's jam. "Lady Godiva's Operation" utilizes vocals in imaginative ways.
"Here She Comes Now" is a display of what the third album could have potentially sounded like if Cale had remained with the group: much better than anything with Yule.
"Sister Ray" is where all of the tensions between Reed and Cale completely take over. For 17 and a half minutes, the two compete on guitar and organ ("There is no bass") and the result makes the Velvets seem like a primitive (thanks Moe Tucker) jam band for transvestite-junkies. None of the bootlegs of this song with Yule ever sounded anywhere near as good.
In conclusion, WL/WH sparked something in me, and I fell in love with its tense, violent sexual energy instantly. If you've ever thought that Led Zeppelin was boring, or that the Rolling Stones weren't the coolest band in the world, then I highly recommend White Light/White Heat.
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4.0 out of 5 stars White light, strange heat Feb. 24 2007
Format:Audio CD
Distortion. Either you love it or you hate it, and that will determine whether you love or hate the Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat," which was the final album with John Cale on it. It's strange, raw and eerie, and except for the too-long finale, a fairly good collection.

It kicks off with distorted pop song "White Light/White Heat," and gets followed by equally distorted series of offbeat songs, such as the sex-change operation ballad "Lady Godiva's Operation," the relatively ethereal "Here She Comes Now," and the twisted, squealing riffs of "I Heard Her Call My Name."

"The Gift" is perhaps the most offbeat of all the tracks here: A spoken story-song, recited matter-of-factly in John Cale's Welsh accent. It's about a jealous husband who, in doubt about his wife's fidelity, mails himself to her house. Sounds ordinary enough, except that there is a twist to the finale, both funny and macabre.

This is one of the darker albums that the Velvet Underground did, as well as the last one that was so experimental. The finale is almost twenty minutes of screeching, explosive guitar riffs, and the story-song is definitely odd. But once you get into the swing of it, it's remarkably moving.

The fuzz and wildness of "White Light/White Heat" is definitely offputting at first -- the melodies are buried under a perpetual buzz of sound. That lo-fi flavor won't be to everyone's taste, but those who like their music rough, raw and ragged will probably like the murky riffs and muffled drumming, rising out of a thick mass of fuzz.

For those who don'ty like distortion, it might be a comfort to just focus on the offbeat lyrics -- they can be vulgar, nasty, enchanting, or they can be brimful of black comedy. At least, they are never boring.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Pop or anti-pop? May 25 2004
Format:Audio CD
White Light/White Heat is a delight, an album of pure pop with a reputation nearly as black as Lou Reed's 'Berlin'. The subject matter is dark enough, but the melodies and musical development of the songs themselves are recognizably descended from early 60s pop.
What renders these bright and sparkly pop songs so unlistenable is the production. Most production, whether classical, jazz, or pop, aims to advance the goals of the music, to travel in parallel lines with it. Take, for instance, the career of Neil Young: the quieter self-reflective stuff, such as 'After the Goldrush' and 'Comes a Time', gets crystal-clear recording and a lot of sonic separation between instruments; the darker, withdrawn stuff (the Doom Trilogy, Sleeps With Angels) gets off-the-cuff recordings with obvious, intentional mistakes and a messy feel. Each production decision supports the goals and development of the music and lyrics.
The production on WLWH, however, is aimed at damaging, restraining, perhaps even destroying the music's effect. Take the title track, a bouncy number about speed; any sane (or conscientious) producer would have played up the jangle and made damn sure everything was well-separated. The music on this recording, though, seems to have been made with one (maybe two) mics, blending all the sound into one mess that's mixed equally with Reed's voice. It's pop music played with a chainsaw.
Equally important to most pop producers is the centrality of the vocal. Listen to "Pale Blue Eyes" or Cale's cover of "Hallelujah"; the vocal is what you're supposed to listen to, the music just complements it. Here, though, there's an almost perverse competition to drown out the vocals.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars LOU REED SAID IT BEST......
....No one touches it,no one comes near it.
After reading the Velvet Underground History,in which there is a description of how this album was made,and now hearing the... Read more
Published 8 months ago by RTK in NWO
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic VU!
This album, along with And Nico, are the Velvet Undergound's masterpieces. White Light/White Heat has superior sound quality and is more polished, yet the trademark distortion and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by brotagonist
4.0 out of 5 stars Here it comes now
Distortion. Either you love it or you hate it, and that will determine whether you love or hate the Velvet Underground's "White Light/White Heat," which was the final album with... Read more
Published on March 25 2007 by E. A Solinas
4.0 out of 5 stars The Velvet Underground... in their sophomore slump
White Light/White Heat (1968.) Velvet Underground's second album.
Following the release of their first album, 1967's Velvet Underground And Nico, the Velvet Underground... Read more
Published on June 25 2004 by Rocker_Man
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic VU, but not for everyone
I really love this CD because I am personally a fan of the distorted noisy alternative/rock/blues stuff of the VU's first 2 albums. This album is for people like myself. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Dan
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic record of the '60s...
White Light / White Heat, the Velvet Underground's classic album released in 1968. offering forty minutes of one of the greatest albums from the Velvet Underground. Read more
Published on May 8 2004 by lost_weasel
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Ok
Is this the "Coolest Album Ever," as one magazine asserted? Maybe it is, but that shouldn't have anything to do with the quality of the music herein--we basically get a... Read more
Published on May 5 2004 by Sierra Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of grunge?
White Light/White Heat is the followup to Velvet Underground's now classic debut album with Nico. Whereas their debut mixed psychedelia, pretty melodies, and noisy rock, White... Read more
Published on March 11 2004 by John Alapick
3.0 out of 5 stars some excellent, some disgusting, some bad
i have mixed feelings about this one. I pretty much like all of it, except john cale's songs. im sorry, i may hate it because of its gruesomness, and they may be great songs, but i... Read more
Published on March 3 2004 by Susan E. Pankratz
4.0 out of 5 stars loud as f***
this is without a doubt the most extreme of all 4 of the velvets albums. while not as amazing as the bands debut album, this is still a very influential, and legendary piece of... Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by F. A Ognibene
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