No Jackets

this calls for some tuneskies

The Velvet Underground and Nico

Listen to The Velvet Underground and Nico. It was ranked number 13 in the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all time.

This was an album that has an everlasting influence on modern pop music.  This was the debut album for The Velvet Underground, Andy Warhol’s house band.  Its themes of sexual pervesion, prostiution and drug abuse are evident through the range of tracks.  The sheer variety of genre and style should impress even the keenest of Ke$ha fans.  Tracks ranges from subtle soft and soulful (Sunday Morning) to rough, dirty and raw (Run Run RunI’m Waiting For The Man) to the expansive, beautiful and visceral Heroin.

Now while it is naive and pointless to try and compare musical genres and times; I point out this album because of the sheer ambition of the whole thing. It smacks of reality, raw and beautiful at the same time.  It inspires and provokes emotion, you can feel something, anything, whatever you want listening to this piece of work.  These musicians were living in a time of social upheaval, of major change in attitudes, of decadence and a desire for something different.  The music follows the lives they lived and it cannot be matched.

I’m Waiting For My Man features lyrics “Feel sick and dirty, more dead than alive.”  This was pop music, everyone knew this, it was huge, people bought the records and shared them, loved them because they meant something.  The drums run along like an uneven train, the distorted guitar rattles the brain and in the last 45 seconds a piano line enters, off key and off beat, piercing the song and creating a cacophony of sound I have never heard reproduced.  This is only the studio recording.  This is just one of the tracks, all the others match it for raw power.

Perhaps I am being unfair, of course there is music that is as unrefined and truthful, in which musicians bare their souls and experiment musically in way never even touched by the artists of 1967.  The point I am trying to make however is that the currently popular music, the stuff that everyone knows, does nothing like this.  It does not explore and of the same territory, it is polished and produced, cropped and corrected to generate a bland and soul-less pop.

I will continue this thought process, without any real structure as I feel is nescessary, if only for my own catharsis after Rebecca Black continues to trend on twitter after nearly a month.  I actually quite enjoy some of the funnier cover versions, like this.

It is hardly a fair comparison either, but Nico was actually a near insane pop songstress, unlike the manufactured ones of today.

D Smith


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