The Velvet Underground - "The Velvet Underground & Nico"
1967, Verve Records, New York City
what is there left to say about this album? i talk to a lot of people about it, its one of the touchstones of music elitism, which is to say if you can talk in depth about this album you get tagged in my mind as a 'music person' as opposed to a person who likes music. of course this doesn't always hold true, there are people who just love this album but don't get the implications, and thats ok. there are also people who don't own this album or don't care for it but can talk for years about the wonders of other brilliant music and thats ok too, so i guess its more of a guideline then a rule. but it is an easy and quick way to get my general bearings on a person and their music when i first meet them.
the most curious case is with two girls i know. perhaps its not that uncommon and its probably true with a huge amount of people, but when i encountered it it really did though me off guard. these two love the album. they tell me how much they love it. of course i don't miss up a chance to talk more about it and i mention how much 'Heroin' changed my life. they both, even though they don't know each other and these encounters happened months and miles removed from each other, they both blinked at me and told me they didn't know that song. i don't have an mp3 player and at the time i didn't have a computer so the prospect of loving an album while missing track 7 was bizarre to me but to many people listening to music is shuffle. i'm not ripping that, there are plenty of merits of listening to music that way, hell there are even tracks i didn't get until i herd them out of context but that mode of consumption is a bit foreign to me.
now i could go and tell you about the importance of this album on post-punk and alternative and the birth of noise rock and i could repeat the famous quote and i could tell the stories of worhol and reed and cale but i won't.
this album is 'Heroin'. to me at the very least that is what it is. these two friends of mine were under the misconception that it is a beautiful album and they are right but they are very wrong. it is a very very not beautiful album.
'Heroin' is about of course on the base level the drug. his dependence and his fear of that dependence. its about why he uses the drug, his fears, his want to rise above, and also his want to get away. its about how the drug is going to kill him. but of course its more then that. a little basic beat and little basic melody line repeated and repeated and repeated with that migraine electric violin always always. and it dips down as it continues and speeds up and slows down and the song swallows you. and as i overdrive my headphones sitting on the floor of my apartment it consumes me. and it consumes him. its catharsis. such a fucking release but its also isolation and withdrawing into myself and stockpiling my feeling and never never letting it out. its waves and waves of distortion and feed back and dissonance that you swim in and you get lost in. and mr. reed looks up through it all and for one second laughs, just a little 'ha' that tells you that he wants the drug to kill him and you want the drug to kill you because it would be better it would be better for you and for the ones around you because they don't need you it would be rising above, transcendent, its because the world is so cruel and so kind and its not made for you, its because you rolled the dice two hundred times and it some how never ever came up sixes, its closing your eyes and fucking screaming even though that doesn't let anything out, its because thank god i'm as good as dead. and it ends with the resignation 'and I guess that I just don't know, oh and I guess that I just don't know.'
I guess that I just don't know
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
9. I'll Be Your Mirror
10. The Black Angel's Death Song
11. European Son
i'm gonna try to nullify my life