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Point of VU,
This review is from: VU (Audio CD)
The Velvet Underground's "lost" album "VU" is a bit of a forgotten child, overshadowed by better-known albums like "Velvet Underground and Nico" and "White Light White Heat." But that doesn't mean it isn't as good -- it's a mixture of the enchanting and the gritty and raunchy, and who knows why it wasn't released along with the others.
It opens with the slow-burning rock rhythms of "Can't Stand It," but switches tempo with the delicate, ethereal "Stephanie Says," one of the prettiest little songs the Velvet Underground ever produced, especially with that haunting viola in the background. Nothing else on "VU" is like it, which makes it all the more striking.
Elsewhere, the Velvet Underground stretches its wings a bit with Southern-fried rock'n'roll, complete with an exaggerated drawl. Then there's the intentionally silly "Temptation Inside Your Heart," where Lou Reed breaks off and starts chatting with someone else in mid-song. And finally, a sweeping soundscape in "Ocean" that rises and swells like the waves.
The Velvet Underground was the grandfather of modern indie rock, dipping into darkness and grandeur when other bands were just singing about the same ol' same ol'. Even now, bands get influenced by them -- the Dandy Warhols, most obviously. But it's almost impossible to capture the spirit of the Velvets, especially their mix of naughty fun and musical genius.
Your solid guitar riffs are backed up by some equally solid percussion, especially when Reed decides to tinker with his style (like the Southern twang). John Cale only appears briefly, but he provides an exquisite viola melody for the second song, and a subtle, driving piano moves forward through songs like "I'm Sticking With You."
Lou Reed has that type of flawed voice that will somehow grow on you, despite its thinness. And Reed's studio banter is especially funny ("Electricity comes from other planets." "Woo!"). He also quietly spins out some of the strangest, creepiest, funniest songs in classic rock ("If I could be anything in the world that flew/I would be a bat and come swooping after you/And if the last time you were here things were a bit askew...")
Excellent songwriting and solid musicianship make "VU" a must-have for anyone who loves the Velvet Underground. Don't let the "lost child" be left out.