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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

White Light / White Heat

The Velvet Underground

1968

White Light / White Heat

Album Summary

White Light/White Heat is the second studio album by American rock band the Velvet Underground. Released on January 30, 1968, on Verve Records, it was the band's last studio recording with multi-instrumentalist and founding member John Cale. Recorded after Reed fired Andy Warhol, who had produced their debut album The Velvet Underground & Nico, they hired Steve Sesnick as a manager and hired producer Tom Wilson who had worked on the band's debut. White Light/White Heat was engineered by Gary Kellgren. The album includes lyrically transgressive themes like their debut, exploring topics such as sex, amphetamines, and drag queens. Reed was inspired by a variety of authors, including William S. Burroughs and Alice Bailey, and the lyrics create a cast of characters, such as in "The Gift" and those named in "Sister Ray". Musically, he took influence from jazz music and players such as saxophonist Ornette Coleman. Warhol conceived the album's cover art, although he is officially uncredited. White Light/White Heat was recorded quickly and modeled after the band's live sound and techniques of improvisation, since they often played loud with new equipment from an endorsement deal with Vox. However, the final product was compressed and distorted-–most members were dissatisfied with the final product and it was followed with the less experimental The Velvet Underground the following year; Cale would leave the band later in 1968. The distortion level became a prototype for punk rock and noise rock. The 17-minute "Sister Ray" is widely considered the standout track by critics and fans. White Light/White Heat sold fewer copies than The Velvet Underground & Nico, and peaked at 199 on the Billboard Top LPs chart. The album's only single, "White Light/White Heat", failed to chart, which the band blamed on airplay bans and lack of promotion from Verve. The album was dismissed by many contemporary mainstream music critics, although underground newspapers took notice. Ultimately, White Light/White Heat had a hugely significant impact on early forms of punk rock and no wave and has appeared on several lists of the greatest albums of all time.

Wikipedia

Rating

2.88

Votes

4768

Genres

  • Rock
  • Psychedelic Rock
Reviews
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Thu Feb 18 2021
1

pretty fucking horrible

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

My friend Dave and I spent a heady weekend back in 1969 tripping to this colossal record on some ridiculously strong hallucinogen. It was pure liquid acid, dripped onto centimetre cubes of plaster of paris, which you had to keep in the freezer to prevent the drug evaporating. Having chewed and swallowed a cube apiece, we listened to “Sister Ray” at huge volume, pinioned in our chairs. It was my first and only true synaesthetic experience: I could actually see this music, a turbulent, roiling maelstrom in which, though merely mono, the various constituent elements were clearly visible as a three-dimensional sculpture of visual sound. Dave died.

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Fri Feb 19 2021
3

These boys either need to get laid or take a break from fucking. I can't tell which.

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Sun Feb 28 2021
3

This album had a 17 minute electric jazz song about a blowjob.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
1

Oh fuck off

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Wed May 05 2021
5

VU at its best

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Mon Nov 09 2020
5

this album kinda OWNAGE maybe??????????????????????????????? fucking weird ass lo-fi sloppy as hell noise rock, especially for 1968. the last track is especially insane. like weird improvisational bullshit wasnt unprecedented (Jazz Music) but im pretty sure this is one of the first times a rock album sounded like this ? the hard panning on The Gift is annoying at first but i think it fits the songs fucked up vibe. honestly this album as a whole just has a super fucky vibe, feels completely out of touch with reality at times. majorly respect this for proceeding all the fucked up lofi nonsense i love 9/10

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Sun Feb 07 2021
5

I can feel it influencing me

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Thu Jul 01 2021
1

literally terrible there were such random screeching noises and i cannot think of any way this is influential i literally hate this album no offense

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Mon May 31 2021
5

crazy

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Wed Mar 03 2021
5

I am once again upset with myself for not owning this album. In fact, I don’t have any of the John Cale VU’s on vinyl, and I don’t know why. Oh yeah, this album inspired pretty much every band I’ve ever liked, ever. 5 stars

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Wed Jun 09 2021
5

epic, a near perfect record! a must own

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Wed May 12 2021
5

Probably the most open and boundary pushing VU album. John Cale's influence is felt the most here, both on tracks like The Gift and in the instrumentation. Each VU album has it's own special place in my heart, and while I don't know if I could choose a favorite, this is always a fun one to put on because it's very much not the "greatest hits" but still makes a very compelling argument for what a great band they were.

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Mon Sep 27 2021
5

Poor Waldo ...

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Sat Jul 24 2021
1

To say I'm baffled is an understatement. I had to triple check that I was listening to the right album, especially after reading some of the reviews. There's about 3 half-songs on this record and the rest is noise. And those half-songs are OKAY, not great. In what universe does someone sit down and listen to "sister ray" - 17 and a half minutes of fuzzy garbage - and enjoy the experience? I had to lower the volume down, it was literally hurting my ears. Same with "I heard her call my name". Wtf am I missing...?

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Fri Jul 09 2021
5

buen disco

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Wed Oct 20 2021
5

Absolut hilarious und wunderbar grotesk die Geschichte vom armen Waldo, unschlagbar sweet und leicht unbeholfen mit walisischem Zungenschlag vorgelesen von John Cale - der mir überhaupt sehr gut gefällt, auch als Sänger von Lady Godiva. Man möchte baden in dieser Platte, und man kann. In der wohligen, flauschigen Wärme genauso wie in der überall wogenden Salzsäure sich auflösen und transzendent werden - als heißweiße Hitze, kaltweißes Licht. Sister Ray halt - wie schön das genau NICHT auf den Punkt bringt, was sich ausstrecken will, einsaugen lässt. Verstärker, Verstärker.

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Wed Dec 01 2021
5

I was hoping to get a good album for my birthday, and here it is. I actually just listened to this album yesterday. I'm on a big Lou Reed/VU kick because I just finished reading a biography of Lou Reed. I think all four of the "real" VU albums (the 5th one is basically a Doug Yule solo album) are 5 star albums. This one is the noisiest and the ugliest in a way, but out of ugliness comes great beauty. This is also the last VU album with John Cale, which makes it even more special. His keyboard playing on the Sister Ray jam is epic. 5 stars.

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Wed Apr 20 2022
5

I love The Velvet Underground. Every album of theirs is distinct and different. This one - their second - is their strangest. The music is mostly fuzzed out, low-fi rock and the production is unpolished and sloppy in a way that feels confrontational towards the listener. The songs are an odd batch. The title track is simple enough (before deteriorating into noise right at the end) but is quickly followed by "The Gift," a weird little short story about a man who mails himself to his girlfriend and gets a knife to the head when she cuts the box open. The background music simmers underneath, keeping a steady beat while the guitar riffs on some psychedelic vibes. "Lady Godiva's Operation" continues the psychedelic music while telling the story of a botched sex change operation. I love how Lou Reed jumps in to emphasize certain words in a monotone voice. It's a crude, jarring effect that I think is really funny. The first half ends with "Here She Comes Now," a beautiful gem of a song and a generous track to include on an otherwise abrasive album. (Nirvana does some really good covers of this song.) But then the real chaos starts. "I Heard Her Call My Name" is a blast of noise and feedback that turns out to just be a warm-up for the 17-minute "Sister Ray," a truly insane assault on the ears. You can really get lost in it. Lou Reed's vocals are wild too as he shouts about drugs and sex. "Too busy sucking on a ding-dong!" must have been a controversial thing to include on an album in 1968 but it's also hilarious. It's nice to know that even as the band was upending what rock music could be and inventing new styles, they had a sense of humor about it all. It's aggressive for sure but you can hear them having fun too.

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Mon May 03 2021
4

Experimental and interesting

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Wed Feb 03 2021
2

Claramente no es un disco que a la mayoría le guste. En su tiempo fue recibido con muchas reservas aunque después los críticos han exaltado su influencia en la música. Entiendo el mérito que tiene por proponer cosas disruptivas y que es un volado que puede impresionar a la gente o parecer repulsivo. Pero el mérito no lo es todo. Las letras me parecen muy interesantes y supongo estas letras que hoy parecieran normales eran escandalosas en su tiempo. El tema de las distorsiones me parece muy interesante, los cambios de voces también y si el punto era experimentar en crear un disco feo, disonante e incómodo para probar algún punto o llevar la contraria, vaya que lo lograron. Pero reconocer el mérito no equivale a gustar o disfrutar. Creo que es importante haberlo escuchado pero no es algo que me interese volver a escuchar.

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Wed Jun 02 2021
2

Don’t like the album Music instruments sound harsh on the ears and lyrics are not appealing 1.5/5

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Thu Mar 10 2022
1

En cette matinée du 9 mars 2022, Robert a donc décidé de nous enchaîner la gueule de deux albums de rock experimental. Les deux albums sont evidemment cataclysmiques, le premier nous présentant differents primates hurlant sur un fond de tam tam, tandis que le second passe en revue tout l'assortiment du rayon quincaillerie de Bricot Depot. Ceci a generé non pas un album mais une haine phénoménale en moi. Je me suis donc dirigé directement chez Robert, suis rentré dans son domicile sans frapper, et me suis rué sur ce dernier dans un élan de fureur. Je l'ai attrapé par le col, et rué de coups, afin qu'il retienne bien la leçon. Une fois son quart d'heure terminé, il m'a certifié qu'il tenterait de faire mieux sur les prochains albums.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

Crimely over looked in favour of the debut album. This is the Velvets at their difficult, anti-flower power best. I can only assume that a lot of the wilder elements of the Velvets originated from John Cale as the John Cale-less third album is positively bland in comparison.

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Thu Feb 17 2022
5

Tits on a stick.

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Thu Feb 24 2022
5

White Light / White Heat is a fantastic foray into very early punk rock. The Velvet Underground were lyrically transgressive, and likely one of the first bands to demonstrate to the audience, through their lyrics, that they were the embodiment of Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll. Best: Whole Album Worst: N/A Note: the Link to the album above on Spotify is the deluxe version. I only listened to the original album.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
5

4.5

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Thu Mar 10 2022
5

White Light/White is an unflinching and at times brutal album which in many ways surpasses Velvet Underground & Nico. Gone is the softness added by the chanteuse Nico, replaced by John Cale's sardonic spoken singing. Sister Ray is the stand out with it's assault of noise becoming and influence on kraut rock, Joy Division and the whole no-wave scene. This is another one of those albums soaked in turmoil. You can hear the turmoil between Lou Reed and John Cale bubbling over and in this case leads to a couple of the less amazing parts of this album Often overlooked when compared to the Velvets first album.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

Not for audiophiles or the squeamish.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

Velvet Underground one of the most influential bands of all time. This album is one reason why since it really challenged what rock music at the time. Sure it's noisy, strange and weird and not something you can listen to all the time but it really pushed music to a new dimension. Many people took these elements, polished them and made them more accessible. It's not my fav or most listen to Velvet Underground album but it does make sense to be on the list. It's a 4.5 for me, so once again I'll round up.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

5/5. One of the greatest 😎🤙🤘

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Wed May 18 2022
5

A harbinger of what was to come in the chaotic year that was 1968, White Light/White Heat remains not only the antithesis of the Summer of Love but a crucial turning point in the world of The Velvet Underground. With John Cale one foot out the door and Nico and Andy Warhol completely gone, Lou, Sterling and Moe paint a wholly bleak picture of grisly proportions; death via good intentions, botched entries into a more comfortable being and a seventeen minute romp whose most memorable refrain refers to fellatio. Sgt. Pepper's, Majesty's Request and whatever The Monkees' latest was this was not. The punk movement had arrived early and White Light/White Heat was the first of the few flag bearers.

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Fri May 27 2022
5

The only thing left to say about the brilliance of this album is that the deluxe version is both better and unnecessary as perfection cannot be added to.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
5

White Boy/ White Boy

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

I really, really love that album. Where VU & Nico was more pop, this one is all about explorative, drony, strident sounds. A big, experimental piece of work that everyone won't love, but that I cherish.

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Fri Sep 23 2022
5

Just go listen to it I can’t do it justice with my bird brain words

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Sun Oct 09 2022
5

This album is raunchy, dirty, ugly, and smelly. 5/5

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Wed Jun 01 2022
5

Man blir kanske lite trött på The Gift efter en stund men annars kan man ha detta album på repeat förevigt och det skulle vara en helt bra användning av tid

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

Absolutely stunned to see people are all bottom-Drake meme with the banana album but somehow top-Drake meme with WL/WH.

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Tue Sep 22 2020
4

I go here to escape the Velvet Underground and they follow me.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

It's always strange to me that I enjoy the Velvet Underground so much but have not spent much time diving into their different albums. This one is a bit tough for me to rate. I love the title track and Here She Comes Now. The Gift and Lady Godiva's Operation drag on a bit for me. It's strange how sometimes the lofi quality of the recording really seems to work for the band, while other times it really seems to hurt the quality of the music. Regardless, when Lou Reed brings the energy, he can make a track all by himself. Sister Ray makes this album, which makes sense as it is nearly half of the running time by itself. Ultimately a difficult album to rate because of its inconsistencies, but the innovative aspects of this album outweigh the negatives 4/5

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Tue May 11 2021
4

Great record.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
4

I wouldn't say I enjoyed this album. A little to Avant Garde for my taste. It did however have some super interesting components and a sound that was probably ahead of its time. To be enjoyed as an artifact rather than for the music itself.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
4

Good rock album

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

The gift is a wtf story Very daring album for the time, "filthy, rough" guitar work 4 stars

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Tue Apr 27 2021
4

The Velvet Underground (and particularly Lou Reed) were one of my early musical icons. As great as I think this is I'm not sure I see it as the flawless masterpiece some critical reception suggests. They say it was recorded in two days and it shows. Still, a critical work of raw innovation.

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Fri Apr 30 2021
4

love me some lou reed

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Wed Feb 03 2021
4

Tratando de ser breve (porque es un grupo en el que me podría extender demasiado). Bowie en algún momento dijo que la influencia verdadera no eran los críticos, sino los artistas; en referencia a que Velvet Underground terminó siendo mucho más influyente que los Beatles. Decían que su primer disco solo vendió 10,000 copias pero que fue la razón de la creación de 10,000 bandas. Este segundo disco termina siendo muy muy distinto a su primer material más conocido. Tiene siento yo una cosa buena en la ruptura con Warhol y una mala en la ruptura con Nico. Aunque perdieran una voz particular es muy interesante ver el verdadero rock experimental en sus inicios. No es un disco facil o digerible, tiene todas las características temáticas del grupo y de Lou Reed (sexo, drogas, violencia y subculturas, a niveles impensables para la época y a un grado que los hizo invendibles) pero esta vez cambia lo undulante de psicodelia por lo que solo puedo llamar un caos lleno de belleza. Es necesario comprender que todo lo que se escucha era basicamente la primera vez que alguien lo intentaba, que se usaran guitarras y distorsión en ese grado, que se utilizara el feedback como parte integral de una canción, realizar un disco básicamente improvisado. Sin este disco no hay música garage, no hay música alternativa, no hay grunge, no hay punk. The Velvet Underground fue el verdadero avant garde del rock en todo lo que realmente significa el término. Lou Reed después hizo cosas muy grandes, muy influyentes en algunos ámbitos; pero el grado de impacto que esos 4 discos lanzados en 4 años consecutivos tuvieron es inmenso.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
4

Interesting. Never heard it before.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
4

Not my favorite VU album, but clearly very influential on a lot artist I enjoy. I do love Sister Ray though!

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Wed Jun 23 2021
4

Art-rock at it's artiest - but scratch the surface and there are still pop melodies hidden away. BT: White Light/White Heat, Lady Godiva's Operation, Here She Comes Now

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Sat May 01 2021
4

More interesting than I imagined. Very experimental and textured. Sucking on ding dongs yeah...!

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

Phenomenal beginning of noise rock. LOVE THIS

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Wed Aug 25 2021
4

My god the 60's in America were F'd up. The Gift epitomizes everything I've seen in movies and recordings about that era - the drugs, the sex, the grungy and wheezy guitar riffs. Listening to that track was like watching Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (a truly F'd up movie). It might've been okay if it wasn't so completely overdone (8min). But kudos to the effort and the creativity. And if I thought the Gift had edgy lyrics, Lady Godiva's Operation took me to new depths. Didn't mind the music layered in. The whole album kind of reminds me of Kanye West in that they try so hard to show how intelligent and cool they are through their lyrics and beats. Arrogant is the right word. Still, it's a solid album (minus the production value, which is nil). The title track, Here She Comes Now, and I Heard Her call My Name are all fun little tracks albeit with some excessive guitar work in all of them. Cut out the self-indulgence and depravity (see Exhibit Z, Sister Ray) and you'd have a real winner. 3.5 at least but I'll round up to 4 just to have an even more different take than others. Seems fitting given the extremes of the album.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
4

Psychadelic rock. Guitars remind me of Cream quite a bit. Songs are all very unique, each one does it's own thing. Opens with "White light / white heat" a bit of a traditional rock tune. Followed with "The Gift" an 8 minute story/stream of consciousness while a guitar is wailing. Next is "Lady Godiva's Operation", once again a bit more of a standard tune with dueling vocalists that gets more surreal as it goes on. "Here she comes" has a summery vibe, brief tune about a beautiful hippie lady. "I heard her call my name" is a grungy tune with lots of distortion in the guitars and growling vocals that sounds a lot like Steppenwolf. Last is "Sister Ray" which plays for a whopping 17 minutes and 30 seconds. This song has some attitude, angry Organs that remind me of Ina Gatta Da Vita. Intensity increases throughout the song until a big crescendo of wailing on instruments to end. The keys are literally just holding on notes so it's a thrumming buzz with the drums and guitar going. Great jam session tune. Overall good album, was worried after the 2nd song but that was the only one that I really didn't enjoy. The rest were pretty good, though a bit too "out there" to add to the playlist.

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Mon Sep 27 2021
4

The first half (5 songs): clearly 5*. Had not listened to the second half for years: Sister Ray is alright but still too long. (5+3)/2 = 4.

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Thu Oct 14 2021
4

3.5

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Wed Oct 20 2021
4

Heftiges Teil mit untergründiger Schönheit - unterhalb all des glitches und fuzzes schimmert ein poppiges und fast monotonisch eingängiges Stück Rock. Nico fehlt kein Stück. Mir jedoch etwas die Abwechslung. 3.5

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Wed Oct 20 2021
4

3.5

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Mon Nov 01 2021
4

I felt like I was deeply immersed in the cool 60s until Lou Reed start singing about dingdongs. Still an enjoyable listen.

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

Important, influential, experimental. All of these things, but it's not enjoyable. Interesting to note that Peter Gabriel might have been influenced by the "short story" narration on "The Gift." Sister Ray is a trip, but you don't need to hear it often.

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Thu Dec 02 2021
4

Nothing much is pleasant about this listening experience - the production is dense to the point of singularity and the music is loud, clangy, and crude. It's almost like the band is trying to alienate the listener, and in large part they have. That said, I see this as an even more sophisticated attempt to throw popular music on its head - while their debut at least has some 'catchy' tunes, this one dispenses with any of the trappings of musical enjoyment, dragging listeners down a dark alley, against our will, to show us smacked-out junkies and heroin whores. Its inconceivable to think this came out in 1968, and my rating here reflects the cutting edge nature of the work (if not my actual enjoyment at the listening)

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Wed Dec 15 2021
4

It's not an "easy" listen, but it's good. I love The Velvet Underground especially when they get their drone on. I also love that this is like The Stooges play The Velvets, you can see how this inspired sooooo many artists

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Sun Dec 19 2021
4

Man muss definitiv in Stimmung sein für dieses Album, es ist Ausdruck der Stimmung der damaligen Jugend. Sister Ray: mitreisender Rhythmus, Text über Drogen und Sex etc. ist gemäss Reed als Witz gemeint.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
4

An incredible sophomore album

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Wed Jan 19 2022
4

Man I played this to the death way back when. Great album.

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Wed Feb 09 2022
4

Such an experimental, awesome album that really provided a groundwork for so much music that I love. I think it might be my favorite VU album.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
4

intresting mad shit going on here. Can see why its a must listen

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Fri Feb 11 2022
4

The Velvet Underground are usually remembered fondly for their innovations to the rock music canon as a whole. Grunge, no wave, post-punk, punk rock, krautrock, prog rock, alternative rock, they all trace back to White Light / White Heat in some way. People smarter and more dedicated than myself have written about it better than I ever could, but I can at least share those same sentiments. Even Sister Ray alone, the 17-minute marathon track that dominates side B, could take credit for the ways that it pushed rock music. Most "experimental" rock music could be boiled down to just a few people with instruments fucking around, but to say that about The Velvet Underground would be underselling it's historical significance. As for me, it's certainly not an album I thoroughly enjoy, but there's no denying that this record is the root of many of my favorite albums. One small step for The Velvet Underground, one giant leap for rock music.

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Tue Feb 15 2022
4

Manages to sound simultaneously of its time, modern, and like nothing else I have heard. Starts off with fairly conventional rock and roll sounds on the first track, White Light/White Heat, before giving way to a gradual descent into spoken word madness (The Gift) and then ending with lengthy proto-punk noise and feedback (Sister Ray). A big shift from the more melodic sound of their previous album. It sounds much more improvised, spiky and chaotic.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
4

A surprisingly good album. Certainly unique in relation to some songs (The Gift and Sister Ray). While not really a song in the typical sense The Gift is actually a great story that really made me enjoy the album, not for its musical value but for its entertainement and sheer courage for producing something so peculiar!

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Fri Mar 18 2022
4

3.5

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Thu Mar 24 2022
4

Didn’t realize how much his voice sounds like Julian Casablancas at times. Biased towards live recorded albums. Noisy, fun.

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Mon Apr 04 2022
4

Demasiado experimental y ruidoso para el vinilo. Un 4.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
4

You can see how this album influenced so many bands that I like now. I really like the album. Here She Comes Now is a great song, and the Nirvana cover(s) that it sparked are amazing. It may have gotten a 5 from me if it wasn't for The Gift. I just can't stand that one.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
4

This is their weirdest album. There's a lot that I like on it and there's a lot that i don't like. I always skip "The Gift" but the title track and sister ray are great.

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Sun May 29 2022
4

I think its fair to say this is the least accessible of the 4 VU albums and often gets the most kudos. The Gift annoys me a bit as you don't really want to listen to the story more than twice. Sister Ray is s behemoth. The production is deliberately rough and ready. To think this is a 1968 album takes your breath away a bit. Also Reeds guitar on "I heard her call my name" Remarkable. I feel I should like it more than I do. Still, 4.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
4

Freak classic

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Wed Jun 08 2022
4

I always struggle if I love or hate this one. This listen fell closer to love.

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Wed Aug 17 2022
4

Love the title track, and lots of other good stuff on the album but not these versions - the production/mix on this album is awful.

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Fri Sep 02 2022
4

Recording is shit but the album is quite great!

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Sun Sep 18 2022
4

Excellent, if challenging in places

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Wed Nov 02 2022
4

Wacky album. I like it more than the debut. Sister Ray is a monster as is known.

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Thu Nov 17 2022
4

Classique

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Fri Nov 18 2022
4

Noise 101 The Beatles' first use of distortion was I Feel Fine. They approached distortion with white gloves on and everybody listened to it. The Who whacked distortion in the face with boxing gloves on in their song The OX. Nobody listened to it. They also mixed some lighter distortion in their songs they hoped would be hits and they got radio play. Lou seemingly couldn't give a fuck about radio play and gave us this opera of distortion sledgehammer style. Overall, the album feels like it's half baked although I guess noise is supposed to sound that way. Side 1 is, relatively speaking, tame. Side 2 is the ugly noise side. "I heard her call my name" ramps up the distortion level and Sister Ray is a full-on assault of noise. When listening to this, it's hard to imagine that four years later he would record Transformer and six years later, on Rock 'n' Roll Animal, he would show that he recognizes the benefits of musicians who can play, in the more typical definition of the word. I've come to realize that musicians have greatly advanced hearing so hear things that mere mortals like us don't. After so many years I can appreciate the noise assault on this album. I'm still miles away from Metal Machine Music and doubt I can ever take enough baby steps to get there.

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Fri Nov 18 2022
4

Extraordinary album, one my favourites since I was young. Beautiful cutesy moments, horrible machine music moments, joyful little experiments, the odd inclusion of a Welsh accent among the squall which is deeply satisfying. Pale blue eyes is one of the simplest, nicest songs written. The album sometimes dissolves into an uncontrolled difficult morass but it reforms well. An iconic, stand out record. Although I wonder if the velvenlt underground are a five star band that only produces four start records.

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Thu Nov 24 2022
4

Pretty great follow up

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

I love Velvet Underground, even today it has such an individual sound. I must say I was NOT in the mood to listen to it today but I know I love it

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

Well this was psych experimental classic-ness wasn't it. I found the majority of it really interesting to listen to, and again another album that is so iconic of a time. Made me want to be there. Really loved the one about the story of a man who posted himself. Hilarious! Well told story too. I can see why Luke likes VU so much at times, the repetitions and just going and going leaning into a riff so much. I might not have as much appreciation for all of that at times, like the 17 min song - but on the whole I did love it

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Fri Nov 25 2022
4

I was so excited to finally get a Velvet Underground album on this list as I missed the last one and didn't get around to making it up yet! This one is a corker. I really love the first few tracks. The opening track especially is so warm and inviting. Really cool sound classic VU so exciting with lots of twists and turns too. I get a bit irritated by the second half ish of the album but that's only because I'm listening while working from home and not live at a gig which would be awesome.

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Fri Dec 02 2022
4

It is hard to put into words the monumental impact that Velvet Underground had on music, rock, and art. Emerging from the New York Punk scene, underground tapped into Lou Reed's lyrics and artistic vision to make not only important music, but push what could be considered music.

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Thu Sep 17 2020
3

A lower tier VU album, more noise than melody

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Tue Jun 22 2021
3

Not sure why I never heard this before. It sounds awful but at the same time sounds amazing. Weird.

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Fri Feb 05 2021
3

Not my favorite VU album, but it has some good music but is a bit too avant garde

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Wed Apr 21 2021
3

An album of two halves. At first I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't think I liked velvet underground. But was enjoying some classic 60's rock/prog rock. The last half got a bit too discordant for my tastes though.

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Fri Jan 15 2021
3

The distortion on this album is why every kid wants to start a rock band. The genius of this album is it sounds like it was mixed and recorded in an old cement basement. Just raw music without letting studio guys kill it.

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Wed Feb 03 2021
3

Mucho proto de muchos lados, sonidos estridentes que marcan gran influencia en la música de 20 años después, hay un par de rolas que llegan a saturar demasiado el oído (sister ray) pero no por el ruido sino por la mezcla de ritmos asincopados.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
3

7

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Thu Jun 03 2021
3

Good representation of VU style, a little rough around the edges and can get kind of repetitive. Highlights: -White Light/White Heat -Sister Ray

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Tue Jul 13 2021
3

This was a lot. Stomach-churning at times. I guess that was probably the intended effect and I honestly enjoyed parts of it. 6

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Wed May 12 2021
3

5.5

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Tue Jul 20 2021
3

3.6 - Self-indulgent at times, especially during the spoken word track “The Gift” which drags on too long. Interesting early examples of guitar feedback that work well especially on the last couple of tracks that at times sound like noise rock and metal. One of those records that probably serves as a touchstone for many musicians and genres.

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Thu May 06 2021
3

Old sounding but good. The song "the gift" was particularly fun. 0RS

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Sat Apr 24 2021
3

Good instrumentals

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Tue May 11 2021
3

A couple of good songs but I found the album quite stressful to listen to.

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Sat Apr 17 2021
3

Mir fehlt Nico hier. Teilweise ist es mir dann doch etwas zu abgefahren. Here she comes now mag ich am Liebsten und ist m.M.n. auch am ähnlichsten zum ersten Album mit Nico.

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Mon Apr 05 2021
3

Pretty good actually. Probably wouldn’t be someone I’d listen to more but the songs were actually quite good.

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Mon Mar 29 2021
3

couple of really good songs - the rest was pretty nice as background music

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Wed Apr 14 2021
3

Zugegeben ich Habs ned ganz ogheard

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Tue May 11 2021
3

Some screeching is fine, but there are limits... this pushes the boundary a points. Some of it is fun.

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Thu Jul 08 2021
3

I expected to hate this one, but not so much in the end.

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Sat May 29 2021
3

For those who say that metal is noise, this is noise. Never been too much into LOU Reed, but this is ok

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Fri May 14 2021
3

OK, bad recording quality.

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Wed May 26 2021
3

not at all what I was expecting after the first song, and while I can appreciate the artistic merit and experimentation, it's not for me, at least after a first listen

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Tue May 18 2021
3

I bet I’d like this more if I had some of what they were smoking… repetitive hippie music. Plus I’m pretty sure track 2 is just the vocalist reading a smut story. Not really my cup of tea, but listenable/ignorable.

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Wed Jul 14 2021
3

not a banana cover album but this wasnt the best at all lol

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Fri Jul 30 2021
3

The Gift is the standout track here, but probably only for the first time of listening. Doesn't lift the rest of the album up above being mediocre, especially on subsequent plays.

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Sun Aug 01 2021
3

I usually don’t like weird artsy rock but this seems so genuine and original I find it really endearing. “The Gift” was probably my favorite of the track here.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
3

I get it, the velvet underground changed the game and was super influential. I'm thankful for that, but it still doesn't hit me as much more than a novelty. Not something I'd want to listen to most of the time. I feel I'm being generous with the 3 only because I know I've given objectively worse albums a 3 too.

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Wed Aug 04 2021
3

Haiku Tuesday: Music vs. Noise “Sister Ray” may save the day She can’t win the war

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Fri Sep 24 2021
3

Def liked transformer better. This gets a bit weird, especially the 18 mins of him talking about getting his "Ding dong" sucked. Musically it's spot on.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
3

Er zitten dus echt geweldige tracks tussen al die herrie en ik vind die gekte ergens ook wel tof, maar dit kan je toch met goed fatsoen niet meer echt briljant vinden...

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Fri Oct 22 2021
3

Met vlagen lekker, soms ook weer een beetje teveel van het goede..

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Thu Nov 25 2021
3

Not bad, not memorable. A lot of the chords through the songs all sounded the same.

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Fri Nov 26 2021
3

Not as good as Loaded or Banana, but still solid

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Fri Dec 03 2021
3

Big fan of VU first album. First time listening to this, really enjoyed it too, though is a harder listen, very experimental some of the songs are a bit messy. But can see massive the influence VU had on music.

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Sun Dec 19 2021
3

A lot for a Monday morning. Totally manic, 13 minutes of Sister Ray sounds like two trains on the same track steaming toward a head on collision but never actually making contact. I feel bit ill.

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Thu Jan 06 2022
3

Review this album its a very hard task, since it`s not so revolutionary, but it's still classical. It is too much noise, but not absolutely experimental. I don't know, but this album is an interesting experience, even when I'm not capable of any type of a real analyze.

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Thu Jan 20 2022
3

I like the Velvet Underground a lot, but this is far from their best work, and a pretty questionable inclusion on the list. Lou Reed's (?) interjections on "Lady Godiva's Operation" seem like he's trying to tank the track!? Fave track - the title track probably. "Sister Ray" is fun too...

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Thu Jan 27 2022
3

Beginnt recht harmlos mit eher konventionellen Songs, und geht dann über zu nois lastigen Feedback Bonanzas, mit dem classic Velvet Underground Drone. Ein song klingt wie die Blaupause zu The End von den Doors. Find ich schon geil, aber The Velvet Underground & Nico find ich nicer - Nico geht ab und die Mischung zwischen on-point und abgedreht funktioniert dort besser.

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Thu Feb 10 2022
3

Raw

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Thu Feb 10 2022
3

Art rock

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Thu Feb 17 2022
3

the prototype art rock album. it's easy to forget that one of the founding members of the famously new york velvet underground is a welshman. it must have confused the shit out of the americans hearing a welsh accent telling that story. i've got welsh ancestry and the welsh accent still confuses me.

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Sun Feb 27 2022
3

Ding-dong, Lou Reed et al calling.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
3

The other Velvet Underground album we've had was fantastic, but I'm a lot less enthusiastic about this one. It definitely had some good moments. But the horrendous production really doesn't work for me. Lady Godiva's Operation would be pretty nice, if not for the really weirdly mixed vocal lines thrown on top of the track and I Heard Her Call My Name was a chaotic mess.

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Fri Mar 25 2022
3

Pretty good but not the best VU album

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Mon Apr 04 2022
3

Ni fu ni fa.

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Mon Apr 25 2022
3

Музыка необычная и в своё время благодаря концерту Петра Мамонова про Незнайку я узнал о треке The Velvet Undrerground под названием Gift из этого альбома. Как раз он здесь есть. И эта монотонность нравится. Но в целом... Не так сильно цепляет. Долго это слушать тяжело.

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Thu May 12 2022
3

Harder VU, missing the mark for me

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Fri May 13 2022
3

Lou is a fucking clown and I love it. Like, have you heard his vocal on 'Lady Godiva's Operation'? Comically daft. Elsewhere, they do their ur-band thing, sullying previously unsullied corners of drone, monotone, and the poetic-prosaic. Their music refelcts an era that hasn't happened yet, but once it's been and gone, those reflections will prove to have been staggeringly astute.

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Thu Jun 02 2022
3

Idgi maaan

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Fri Jun 03 2022
3

Some tracks way overblown. Disappointing

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Wed Jul 20 2022
3

eu gosto muito de velvet underground. a musica deles tem aquela barulheira que de alguma forma acaba se resolvendo no final, e que deixa a musica nunca enjoativa. e esse album não é diferente, o problema é que na minha opinião esse album tem exagero na tal barulheira, sendo assim, é o que eu menos gosto de todos os albuns deles. mas mesmo assim, um bom album, com algumas musicas nada atraentes e outras muito boas. não da pra dizer que existe alguem no mundo que sente e escute 17 minutos de sister ray, lady godiva operation ou the gift. mas a outra metade do album é muito boa. SHES BUSY SUCKING ON MY DING-DONG!!!🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🗿🗿

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Fri Aug 05 2022
3

The Velvet Underground was a good band but in this album I cannot to see the best songs.

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Sun Aug 21 2022
3

I know it's the classier album to like, but this one seems a bit of a triumph of difficulty over substance. It's by no means bad, and Sister Ray is obviously a classic - though for 20 minute epics, the suite on Lou Reed's Street Hassle does it better for me, I feel like you could cover everything worthwhile in Sister Ray in 10 minutes. But it's just good in my mind.

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Mon Aug 29 2022
3

The Velvet Underground's first album is griity, raw, and unpolished, but hints at greater things to come.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
3

Seguramente no sea conciderado como lo mejor de la Velvet pero este disco tiene algo que siempre me gustó mucho, y es que durante gran parte del álbum aparecen muchas melodías y sonidos que intentan ser agradables y dulces pero el caos, casi constante de los instrumentos, no los deja llegar a ese punto. En la version 2013 del disco, aparecen 7 canciones más y en ellas el caos paulatinamente va desapareciendo, se va tranquilizando, se agota por sí solo hasta llegar al último track, "Beginning to see the light" que en realidad aparecería en el siguiente y tercer álbum de la banda.

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Wed Oct 12 2022
3

The aural equivalent of spinning out on heroin. Dark and discordant, perhaps too much for its own good.

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Thu Nov 17 2022
3

This somehow goes from possibly their most accessible song to their most unlistenable with a lot of chaos in the middle. There's a lot to love here, but also a lot of pretty horrible unnecessary feedback, and some dire mixing (Reed's vocals in Lady Godiva's Operation in particular are so jarring)

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Fri Nov 18 2022
3

Love the way The Velvet Underground experimented with styles and technics. The lyrics were very controversial and absurd, especially for that time. They just went a bit over the top with the distortions.

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Mon Feb 08 2021
2

Better than the last VU album but not by much. Not my thing I’m afraid

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Fri Jan 22 2021
2

Not amazing.

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Fri Feb 26 2021
2

Not great

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Fri Jan 15 2021
2

It was aite, not super my style

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Fri Feb 26 2021
2

interesting

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Thu Jan 14 2021
2

They remind me of the Beatles and, crazily enough, I'm not a huge Beatles fan. I did really enjoy the second song but that's primarily because it was a spoken song. I thing the singer's singing was the biggest issue for me however the instrumentals were good. I'm giving it a 2 since I couldn't even finish the album.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
2

Got through disc 1 and the start of disc 2 but boy it wasn't easy. What a weird band.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
2

Interesting, but not as much my speed. Somewhat grungy.

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Fri Jun 18 2021
2

Some stuff stood out- "The Gift" was experimental and interesting, as was "Sister Ray" and "Lady Godiva's Operation", but I can't see myself returning to it, and too much was plodding

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Wed Jan 20 2021
2

Definitely not an album that I choose to be in a list of best albums, half of the songs are just random noise sounds. Maybe when they make the album have just a few songs and wanted to release something new and say, ey, we should load the rest of the album with random shit and wala!

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Sun Jul 11 2021
2

Some good tracks on here but the final product is ultimately too disjointed to read as a cohesive album. Comes across more as a set of B-sides and demos, a view reinforced by the garage-level production

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Thu Apr 15 2021
2

Ne das war nicht ganz meins - 2

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Wed Apr 21 2021
2

Not my favorite VU record, but still a vibe to listen to. A little too noisy & chattery to be enjoyable throughout.

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Tue Jun 22 2021
2

Classic lou reed: half of the time is interesting, half of the time you can enjoy it. Hole time is just noise. I get it, is experimental, but why?

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Wed Feb 03 2021
2

Another gsrage band

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Tue Jul 13 2021
2

4/10. I will admit, it was better than the Wikipedia article made it sound. But you know, I really didn't need some guy talking into my left ear for 8 minutes straight about some hopeless romantic, and honestly it was a bit of a cop-out to just have him die at the end. Similarly with the 17 minute song at the end, except I couldn't even be bothered to follow the story of this one, though I did figure out that she was busy sucking on his ding dong, because the singer said so about every 30 seconds. I'd be inclined to say the album was fairly good if it weren't for these two songs, except that these two songs are 65% of the album.

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Tue Jul 13 2021
2

Wow, I did not care for this. 3/10

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Fri Apr 30 2021
2

.

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Sat Apr 17 2021
2

Velvet Underground hieß unsere Studentenkneipe in Brügge. Das Album hat leider weniger Spaß gemacht, als die Abende da.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
2

An Interesting album. With some good times and equally some shite. Literally had to turn some off because of the racket. Weird little story track about a bloke posting himself to the woman he loves and she ends up stabbing him in the head. Compelling.

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Thu Jun 10 2021
2

Lacking any production value whatsoever and with little regard to singing in tune, this was the ultimate 'fuck the system' album of the time, doesn't make it any good though.

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Tue May 18 2021
2

Dude, this was not good. Even for them

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Wed May 19 2021
2

Might appreciate it more if I were on drugs.

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Fri Jul 23 2021
2

bleh

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Fri Jul 23 2021
2

Art rock bullshit. 2 stars for a couple catchy songs.

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Wed Jul 28 2021
2

Not a big VU fan.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
2

The album started off ok - "White Light / White Heat" sounded like proto-glam and was promising. "The Gift" had a fun riff and story, with a good punchline. However, underneath both these tracks were hints of the noise that was going to annoy the crap out of me later in the album. "Lady Godiva's Operation" sounded like some decent 60s psychedelia until the doctor part where it got weird. "Here She Comes Now" also had that 60s vibe and wasn't bad. But then the last two tracks brought the noise rock front and center. "I Heard Her Call My Name" had a horrendous almost all-feedback guitar solo that sounded like garbage to me. The jam in the middle of "Sister Ray" was just sloppy and all noise. I wanted to shut off the squealing organ and feedback. The end of "Sister Ray" was even more obnoxious than the middle. I tried to give the album a fair shake - even listened a second time, and that's when I noticed that the noise was present throughout, just not as noticeable on early tracks. I like some Lou Reed solo stuff, but I'm definitely not a fan of this album. Giving it a 2 rather than a 1 solely because there were some redeeming moments.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
2

The Velvet Underground are one of the most important band of all time, or so I keep hearing. Doesn't help that this album sounds like it was recorded on a boom box because Lou Reed spent all of the recording money on heroin. I actually like some of their material (mostly from their previous album with Nico but also some of Loaded). This album just kind of sucks though. It does get a bonus star because of the Gift though. The feedback cleared my sinuses. Actually the title track is okay.

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Wed Aug 25 2021
2

Ugh. I…. _HATE_ Lou Reed. So asking me to listen to VU is asking a lot. The song “White Light / White Heat” I know from Bowie. He performed it in concert a bunch of times. I can see where the foundation of punk came from from these songs, but some of them… people talk about prog rock bring pretentious, THIS stuff sounds pretentious to me. That 17-minute piece just meanders. God, it was bad. I’m adding one star for the song “White Light / White Heat” since I always liked it. So that’d be 1.5 stars, round up to…

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Wed Aug 25 2021
2

How do you rate an album that feels like an experiment gone bad, yet goes on to create and/or drive a genre by how it influences other artists? Ultimately I have to go with my own ears and emotions—how do I feel about the music? Would I listen again? I really struggled with this review; the best I can give it is a 2.

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Wed Sep 01 2021
2

I know, I know, they're iconic or something but...ehhhhh.

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Fri Oct 01 2021
2

Not terrible. Just sooo long

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Fri Oct 01 2021
2

entiendo que es un disco realmente influyente e innovador para su época pero de lejos es mi favorito de la banda. tiene buenas canciones y otras en las que simplemente no puedo concentrarme, pero en general lo siento como un caos de sonidos que no logro conectar.

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Fri Oct 22 2021
2

The Velvet Underground hebben best aardig wat nummers die ik erg kan waarderen. Maar dit album....niet door te komen. Chaotische herrie. En het gaat maar door....

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Fri Oct 22 2021
2

Veel te rommelig en arty. En de stem van Lou Reed trek ik echt niet.

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Wed Nov 03 2021
2

Definitely not the same level as some of their other albums. This one felt a bit all over. The first song was pretty noisy then the second song was just talking. The other three songs weren’t too special and the album was pretty short. Overall pretty meh. 4.2/10

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Fri Nov 26 2021
2

*hits blunt* Uh yeah I do happen to be a huge connaisseur of *looks at hand* expremented Rodc

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Mon Dec 13 2021
2

not in the mood at all for this

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Wed Jan 26 2022
2

I get, in part, this is an experiment in what an audience will put up with under the guise of art and that pushing boundaries is necessary in the evolution of music but I really object to just how unlistenable the whole album is - the discordant guitars, the monotonous sound mix, the shouting - and presented in such a way that I am the problem if I don’t ‘get’ it. If I’m square then so be it. An extra star for being on this list, to educate others to avoid at all costs.

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Thu Jan 27 2022
2

Könnte gut sein wenn’s nicht so lärmig wäre

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Fri Feb 04 2022
2

I always feel like I'm in an "Emperor's New Clothes" situation when I listen to The Velvet Underground. This is garbage but I have to listen to everyone tell me it's brilliant. Pretty sure I heard him say "busy sucking on a ding-dong" at some point?? There were one or two moments that prevent this from being one star but it really is complete trash.

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Fri Feb 18 2022
2

I’m not sure if this is a different band named Velvet Underground, But this is some of us disappointing music I’ve listened to. I had high expectations going into this and was extremely disappointed.

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Thu Mar 10 2022
2

Robert est au plus mal en ce moment et je vais vous expliquer pourquoi. Alors qu'en début de semaine, je lui avais déjà tenu tête en refusant catégoriquement de me plier à ses exigences, celui-ci vient d'être transféré à l'hôpital en soins intensifs pour la raison suivante : il aurait été tabassé par mon compère et rival de toujours eltrapeze (l'intéressé l'a confirmé à l'heure où je m'enregistre). Bien que je trouve l'album du jour très moyen (Lou Reed se moque de nous depuis les années 60), il n'aurait certainement pas mérité de créer un tel élan de haine. Je ne cautionne en aucun cas les agissements d'eltrapeze. Pour en revenir à l'album, et je crois que tout le monde sera d'accord avec mon analyse, le problème a deux sources : Lou Reed et le menuisier du dernier morceau. Inutile de rappeler comment le premier travaille ses chansons (il appelle ses parents, lance l'enregistrement, puis la conversation, et une fois le combiné raccroché, colle sa voix sur des instruments). En ce qui concerne ledit menuisier, son intervention est un énorme point d'interrogation. Il scie d'abord des planches de bois puis perce un énorme trou dans le mur du studio avant de creuser le sol au marteau-piqueur. « Que cela cesse » crieront nos oreilles jusqu'à la dernière seconde.

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Sun Mar 13 2022
2

Lost a fucking point because of the 17 minute song about a blow job. Sucking on my ding dong says Lou Reed. God I think deep down really fucking hate the Velvet Underground. I get it, they are super influential and all that. But I also fucking incredibly fucking pretentious man. Avant Garde heroine chic rock and roll bullshit.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
2

Most influential band of all time, blah, blah, blah. There’s less to like here than on the other records, as much as one admires the experimental bent and iconoclasm, which doesn’t fully come off anyway. “Sister Ray” is as gritty as art/noise rock got, but just because it was among the first of its type doesn’t make it a masterpiece. Anyone annoyed by Reed’s talky vocal style will be sent over the edge by “Lady Godiva’s Operation.” The muddy, submerged production is a big part of the issue – one wonders what this lot would have achieved with modern technology, including sampling (Cale’s later work suggests what might have been). The record’s commercial performance suggests sometimes bands get what they deserve, while its critical reception shows the power of revisionist history. 2.5 for 2.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
2

Here she comes mow was covered by nirvana so that's a star and I wanted to know how the gift would end so that's 2. Was a bit disappointed in this one. Expected better.

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Thu Apr 14 2022
2

Loud noise but I get it

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Wed Apr 20 2022
2

Pros: - First track - I love that experimental ending, with all of the instruments just gradually pulling apart rhythmically. Very cool sound! - Then the second track starts with some spoken word! I have to admit though as this track went on that I became a little bored by it. I've mentioned it before but I'm a big believer in albums starting with a song or having their second song be some kind of moderately uptempo / interesting sound regardless of the genre, and this one was really interesting to have the second song be a repetitive 8 minute long spoken word song. - The experimental-ness of the album and overall sound is really intriguing. Specifically experimenting with vocal deliveries is really cool. Cons: - Not every act needs things like choruses and hooks, but I think they could benefit from having some of them? Or more of them? I found myself bored at times with some of the songs. Ultimately I didn't love the album..

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Wed Apr 27 2022
2

This album is very strange. Especially "The Gift" at least the stereo mix that is, where the short story and music are panned hard left and hard right respectively. I don't think it is bad and it was certainly an influential and critically acclaimed album, but I don't think it is The Velvet Underground's best album. I feel bad about ranking this low, but I know that the other two albums I'll end up rating higher.

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Thu May 19 2022
2

Only Here She Comes Now prevents this from getting a 1 star

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