according to Salient feature writer, Nicola Kean
The Velvet Underground and Nico – The Velvet Underground
Someone once said that although The Velvet Underground’s debut album sold poorly, everyone who bought a copy started their own band. Produced by Andy Warhol and, upon its release in 1967, banned in some record stores because of its subject content – The Velvet Underground and Nico only reached the legendary status it deserves a good twenty years after it was recorded.
And that’s because while bands such as The Beatles were busy singing about bubblegummy love, VU was breaking societal taboos – singing about sexual deviance and being fucked up on heroin, S&M, the ache of waiting for your dealer, and the empty life of one of Warhol’s followers. You’ll find everything you wanted to know about the seedy underbelly of the 60’s in this album.
The Velvet Underground and Nico showcases the true genius of the Lou Reed/John Cale combination before it all got ugly and fell apart. Combined with Cale’s composition (and screeching viola), Reed’s lyrics create an album that is both a challenging and rewarding listen. The full breadth of Reed’s song writing talent is displayed, from the soft, obvious single ‘Sunday Morning,’ to the drug-addled roughness of ‘Heroin,’ to the tender love song ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror.’
As an album that was remarkably ahead of its time, The Velvet Underground and Nico remains as excellent a listen as it was when it was first recorded. If you consider yourself a vaguely respectable fan of rock and roll – go out and buy it now.