It feels like a weird milestone to be at the last album by The Velvet Underground. I know there are many other bands on here that I have completed (like The Beatles) or are yet complete (like The Rolling Stones), but The Velvet Underground did something that the others didn’t – completely subvert my expectations.
I’ve spoken previously about how growing up helped me like The Velvet Underground & Nico and I can say that, with a re-listen, I came to like White Light/White Heat. It actually feels like everything has come full circle with The Velvet Underground as it is the first of their albums where I have enjoyed it on the first listen.
Then again, The Velvet Underground is very different from their other albums on this list. For one thing it is more ballad-driven, which was a welcome development seeing how I started listening to this at 11 o’clock at night. This doesn’t make this album any less interesting – the penultimate track ‘The Murder Mystery’ attests to that – it just means that this feels like an album where the band had started to become comfortable.
I would pick out some favourite tracks but, being the unoriginal person that I am, I actually liked the singles (plus ‘The Murder Mystery’) most. One of them that particularly struck me was the closing song, which just did not feel like a Velvet Underground song. Maybe it’s because of the clean female lead vocals of Maureen Tucker instead of it being another Lou Reed song, but I liked that they chose to end on a song that had a different feel to the rest of the album.
In two albums time I will be done with the 1960s. Cheap Thrills is in a precarious position at the bottom of the list, but it’ll still be worth hearing. Right?