Velvet Underground & Nico
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Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
|1. Sunday Morning|
|2. I'm Waiting For The Man|
|3. Femme Fatale|
|4. Venus in Furs|
|5. Run Run Run|
|6. All Tomorrow's Parties|
|8. There She Goes Again - The Velvet Underground|
|9. I'll Be Your Mirror|
|10. The Black Angel's Death Song|
|11. European Sun|
When the Velvets recorded this debut, they were best known as the protégés of Andy Warhol (who designed the sleeve), and as a grating, combustible live band. Fuelled by drummer Moe Tucker's no-nonsense wham and John Cale's howling viola, some of the straight-up rock & roll and arty noise extravaganzas here bear that out. But before Lou Reed was singing about sadomasochism and drug deals and writing lyrics inspired by his favourite poets, he was a pop songwriter and this album has some of his prettiest tunes, mostly sung by Nico, the German dark angel who left the band after this disc. Even the sordid rockers are underscored by graceful pop tricks, like the two-chord flutter at the centre of the classic "Heroin". --Douglas Wolk
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Top Customer Reviews
While PEPPER would sell millions mere weeks after release and relaunch the Beatles' career, the Banana album barely charted and wouldn't sell in decent amounts until the band's catalogue was reissued in the mid-80s. Why? The album was too raw for 1967 audiences who were weaned on sweet two-minute pop songs, and was way ahead of its time. What does count here is influence: someone once quipped that the hundred or so people who bought Velvet records each started a band. (e.g. REM, Bowie, Nirvana)
The Banana album sounds fully-born -- it sounds like nothing before, from no recording you can point to and say that it influenced this music. The reason comes down to Lou Reed's deadpan New York street lyrics, John Cale's eerie viola, Nico's Euro vocals, and the no-nonsense yet reliable rhythmn section of Sterling Morrison and Moe Tucker. This is only record where these elements come together. Reed's lyrics, especially, shatter barriers as they address drug dealing (Waiting for the Man), junkies (Heroin) and S&M (Venus in Furs).
The latter song is a standout: no one has ever *sounded* like that. Venus in Furs is dark, hypnotic and powerful. On Heroin, no one had ever sung about taking drugs with such detail (and rarely since then). The dynamics of the song, rising quietly and slowly, matches the sensation of junk hitting your brain, as the lyrics describe. The song is the perfect fusion of Reed's lyrics, Cale's screeching viola, and Tucker's solid drumming. Her drumming further propels Reed's witty tale of scoring in Harlem in Waiting For the Man.Read more ›
Lou Reed tears through a variety of songs, ranging from gritty hard rock to strange ballads. The most memorable song here is undoubtedly slashing, exotic S/M ode "Venus in Furs" ("Comes in bells, your servant, don't forsake him/Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart"). Elsewhere, he dips into pure rock in the desperate "Run, Run, Run," but takes a softer turn with surreal junkie ballads and the eerie, soft "Sunday Morning."
However, German ex-model Nico -- who departed the band in hazy circumstances after this album -- leads with her seductive monotone. She only had a handful of songs, but they remain some of the best: singsong "Femme Fatale," steady and slow "All Tomorrow's Parties," and the exquisite ballad "I'll Be Your Mirror."
The Velvet Underground was probably the first real art band in rock history, formed at a time when megabands like the Rolling Stones were at their peak. But they couldn't have been more different from the heavily-publicized bands -- creepy, dark, and both beautiful and ugly. The Velvet Underground was the reverse of mainstream.
The music isn't complex, but it is strangely compelling -- the wiggling guitar at the beginning of "Black Angel's Death Song," or the tambourines Nico played in her songs. Nowhere else could musical compositions like "Sunday Morning" -- the delicate tune reminiscent of a music box -- seem so haunting as they do here.Read more ›
"Femme Fatale" is one of my favorite songs ever. The great Nico coyly identifying "here she comes...you better watch your step. She's going to break your heart in two...it's true." She's just a little tease, indeed. Her vocal work on this album is just amazing. The contrast between her and Lou Reed is genius. "I'll Be Your Mirror" is one of the sweetest love songs I have ever heard. It has a such an original and sweet perspective, and is so melancholy in the hands of Nico, whose voice really is so distinctive, warm and charmingly amateur all at once. It really is a pitty that her work with the Velvet Underground pretty much ended with this album. I can only imagine how the Velvet's history may have been different had she stuck around for subsequent releases.
"I'm Waiting For My Man" is probably my favorite singular song on the album. The low-key guitar approach is pure Lou Reed, and I love the imagery he brings to life about New York, and trying to meet up with his dealer. "He's never early...he's always late. First thing you learn is that you always gotta wait..." Amazing stuff, and Mo Tucker keeps it all together with her electrifying drum assault. The song that most people identify as one of the most important contributions to rock history would have to be "Heroin," Reed's droning anthemic ode to the gift's and perils of the drug he so treasured.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent box set for the record that basically started alternative rock. This record came out in 1967 the same year as Sgt. Pepper. Read morePublished on Nov. 12 2013 by Stephen Bieth
I've always loved this record. It contains some of the greatest songs ever written, and inspired me to want to make my own music. Read morePublished on June 30 2013 by MAMA
Count me among the many who have never understood the hype. This disc is pleasant enough. It fills the time in an unchallenging way with some interesting, complex tunes that... Read morePublished on April 27 2013 by eeyoore
My son was SO excited to receive this vinyl album and peel back that banana! Rock on! He's a rebel!Published on Jan. 7 2013 by katherinemariescoobydoo
This is art rock at its rawest. The Velvet Underground, together with Nico, performing songs for Andy Warhol's Exploding Plastic Inevitable, is a musical and artistic statement of... Read morePublished on May 5 2012 by idratherbe
An all-time classic. Nothing else the Velvet Underground did can touch this album. A band in peak-form making an album ahead of its time.Published on Feb. 21 2012 by amwilso02
As the 183rd review I'm not going to bore you with what songs I think stand out and how stupendously influential this album is now but let me toss this tidbit at you:... Read morePublished on May 26 2010 by Brian Maitland
So, here's the deal. What I assume the Velvet Underground was trying to accomplish with this album was to bring elements of dissonance and atonality that were strong in jazz and... Read morePublished on June 25 2007 by Concerned Listener
Heroin, sadomasochism, paranoia, hangovers, seductive ladies and a big banana on the cover. The Velvet Underground was unique in 1967 -- even if it never made big sales -- and... Read morePublished on Feb. 22 2007 by EA Solinas