The End CD
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Top Customer Reviews
Its hard to listen to Nico's work without placing it in the context of her life and death, but this steps outside all that and simply stands alone on its own merit.
Once you've heard this anything else that claims to be 'gothic' simply fails miserably.
Its beautiful, poetic, savage, and very dark, and it leaves you feeling vulnerable, enchanted, and totally spaced out.
All compositions are by Nico, except The End by The Doors and Das Lied Der Deutschen by German romantic composer August Heinrich von Fallersleben. If her contributions to the Velvet Underground were melancholy, this music is way beyond lugubrious, but quite listenable on account of the great arrangements.
Of her own songs, the atmospheric You Forget To Answer, the frightening Innocent And Vain with its terrifying sound efects and the morbid Valley Of The Kings stand out; they all fall within the realm of the art song. Nico's accented pronunciation contributes to the almost classical feel.
The End and Das Lied Der Deutschen are something else. The first is well-produced, as awesome as the original and serves as a suitable introduction to the second, which is the highlight, or lowlight, of the album. Scary stuff, not for the faint of heart. To hear Nico rocking out, I recommend the album Drama Of Exile.
The instrumentation here is much sparser than on the previous records, further adding to that desolate emptiness that pervades a lot of Nico's work. This is done to full effect on You Forget To Answer, what with the sweeping synth of Eno, Cale's piano hammering and Nico's vocals darker and more defeated than ever. Weariness is a big theme of this album, which makes sense as it is called The End after all. The other reason it is called The End is because it contains a cover of The Doors' song of the same title. Nico's version is definately darker than their version and the weariness is so strong inside of her that as the song reaches its climax, Nico can only manage an elongated groan as appose to Morrission's enormous yelps and screams. It is a highlight for me, coming write after the creepiest Nico song on the album, We've Got The Gold, which contains some of Nico's most cryptic lyrics ever.
The album opens misleadingly with the gentle tones of a xylophone fading into Nico's harmonium. But by the time the harmonium takes the stage, you know that this is going to be a dark ride, especially when Nico drones, La, la, la, la, la, la... with a haunting chior right from the souls of entombed ghosts. Despite the fact that Nico does sound weary on this record, it is songs like Secret Side and Valley of The Kings that really show off her vocal ability and prove that she still has the power in her voice so that she does not simply drone in a monotone, as the critics lazily say of her vocal styles.Read more ›
It opens on a note that sounds almost whimsical, like a xylophone being stroked. Pretty, and a bit delicate... until you realize that Nico is singing ominously about hunters, swords and bleeding. The next few songs have a more stately musical sound, and tend to focus more on typical pop problems, like lovers who don't listen.
But that vaguely savage element comes back in in the synthy organ ballad "Innocent and Vain," where she sings, "I am a savage violator/A valet innocent and vain." But the oddest track is also best -- Nico does a defiant cover of the Doors' "The End," which may be even better than the original. Her smoky, eerie style turns Jim Morrison's opus into a beautiful sonic nightmare.
One would think that after a band like the Velvet Underground, there would be no place to go but down. Surprisingly, Nico does far better as a solo artist than she did with the legendary Lou Reed-led band -- they tend to be slower, thicker and darker.
Nico's vocals really shouldn't be as good as they are -- she rarely lifted herself out of her thickly-accented monotone, and tended to sing as if she didn't want to bother. However, there's a strange allure to her singing style, which manages to rescue mediocre songwriting like, "We've got the gold, we do not seem too old." Whatever that means.
Nico also played the harmonium, backed by Eno's synths and her ex-bandmate John Cale who played... well, quite a few instruments, including the xylophone, glockenspiel, piano and more synth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Never noted for being cheerful, this is Nico at her most dirge-like. Christa Päffgen (Nico's real name) received high accolades for this follow-up to Chelsea Girl when it was... Read morePublished on 27 May 2014 by The Pompous Git
Nico and John Cale were both one offs but fortunately came together on this and the proceeding albums to make albums that are emotive,fascinating and often starkly beautiful. Read morePublished on 5 Dec. 2011 by Mw Puleston
In my opinion it was really downhill from here, careerwise and musicwise. If you own Chelsea girl, the marble index and Desertshore as well, you really have all (or more) of Nico... Read morePublished on 2 Dec. 2010 by R. Bruynesteyn