The Velvet Underground

Discussion in 'Music' started by Rogo, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Rogo
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    Rogo Choose to choose

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    The Velvet Underground are one of the most important bands to ever emerge in the modern era of music. With their debut album , The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), they spawned many genres from almost nothing, such as ambient, drone, dream pop, noise rock, art rock, and more. It also brought more adult themes to music, like prostitution, the use and purchasing of heroin, and bondage. But most importantly, they brought art and the avant-garde to rock music which was generally an art form dominated by the youth and created for the youth. The tenth track, "Black Angel's Death Song," exemplifies this with its screeching electric viola and its poetic lyrics. Their second album, White Light/White Heat, (1968) brought the distortion that we all know and love in punk rock, and eventually brought out the determined sound found in noise rock. It's epic seventeen minute track "Sister Ray" tells the story of a heroin-dealing drag queen being murdered by a group of transvestites which is utterly unheard of in this day and time. Then of course their self-titled album which was released in 1969 showed us a more kinder, gentler side of the Velvet Underground. The shear beauty of the guitar solos in "I'm Set Free" and "What Goes On" shows the listener the softer side of such a "dirty and gritty" band. Then, of course, their fourth album, Loaded (1970), topped off their ending as a band by showing everyone they were capable of radio play.

    All in all, it is impossible to imagine genres such as alternative rock, indie rock, and punk rock ever existing without the Velvet Underground themselves existing. Some would even argue that without them, there would be no gangsta rap!

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xcwt9mSbYE"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xcwt9mSbYE[/ame]

    I've never taken heroin, but I don't need to take it to know how it feels. This song is not only a work of art, but it simulates the sensation someone feels when under the influence of the drug. The increasing tempo of the drums and guitar is like the beating of the heart during the rush and decrease in tempo represents the wearing off of its effect and the experience the "nod" which is found when taking heroin. Of course, the electric viola enhances the overall experience of the piece by remaining on a droning 'D' note (at least until the end). Towards the end, when Lou Reed starts to recall his annoyance with those "Jim Jims and dirty politicians" the viola goes berserk as if the instrument itself is the incarnation of his annoyance. The funny thing is, this song doesn't really condemn or endorse the use of heroin. It's more meditative, talking about how he uses heroin to escape the worries and cruelties of the world, but then says "it'll be the death of me". This shows that he knows the dangers of the drug itself, but he is still willing to endure through the dangers in order to escape his problems.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2011
  2. Mini 14
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    Mini 14 Senior Member

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    Warhol brought her to us, but he also ruined Nico. His vision just didn't fit her style. Once she left the VU, she struggled for a while, trying other genres, and just when it seemed she finally had found her way back to her roots....she was gone :(

    The Velvet Underground is/was/forever will be a legend. The names that came from and through the VU are a veritable Who's Who of Folk and Rock legends.
     
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  3. Rogo
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    Rogo Choose to choose

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    I'm glad you are a fan of them. What's your favorite album by them?

    Here's another song (which is a personal favorite). It's about communism.

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj1r8smLOmM"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj1r8smLOmM[/ame]
     
  4. Kalam
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    Kalam Senior Member

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    I don't know how many times I listened to their debut and White Light/White Heat when I used to listen to a lot of music... too many to count.
     
  5. Rogo
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    Rogo Choose to choose

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    White Light/White Heat is a fantastic album, and it was also a key element in the creation of punk rock and noise rock.
     
  6. Kalam
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    Kalam Senior Member

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    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an9DoVBHHr8"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an9DoVBHHr8[/ame]
     
  7. Shogun
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    Shogun Free: Mudholes Stomped

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  8. random3434
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    random3434 Senior Member

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    I got turned onto the VU in my early 20's....


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2014
  9. Sallow
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    Sallow The Big Bad Wolf. Supporting Member

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    Wow.

    You have some good taste..
     
  10. Kalam
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    Kalam Senior Member

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    Any fans? :lol:

    [​IMG]
     

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