My own personal fucking opinion.
It has been 35 years since this album was originally released. It has been 35 years since punk/grunge/emo/new wave/ and glam first showed their faces on the music scene.
The first band to use feedback in a song. The Velvet Underground, no matter how much you actually like them, started it all.
Fuck the Beatles.
When i want to hear a song about LSD, I will listen to the Beatles. Who did they inspire? Every fucking pop band. The VU were doing their shit while the Beatles were still gaining popularity. And this album, the VU's first, is their most amazing and most inspirational.
I am awfully surprised that nobody has reviewed any of VU's albums. Maybe they aren't punk enough for you, you hardcore gutterpunk. Wipe that glue out of your hair, take those safety pins out of your jacket, and listen. The Velvet Underground were around ten years before the Ramones. The Ramones started the genre of punk. The VU started the attitude that has become associated with punk. Do you want to see where everybody got this pissy and rebellious attitude? Then check out The Velvet Underground and Nico.
The album starts off with "Sunday Morning", one of the very few VU songs that can bring a smile to your face. Maybe it is because the song starts with a sound from a baby's toy or crib. "I'm Waiting for the Man", "Venus in Furs", "All Tomorrow's Parties," and "Heroin." These are the "hits" so to speak. These songs in particular changed the face of music. There wasn't a band with such an attitude before. Nobody had ever heard words like, "punk", "glam", or "new wave" until Lou Reed began his career. Ever heard a 7-minute punk song? No? They you haven't heard "Heroin." Although many of VU's songs were about drugs, like the Beatles, but VU also sung of kinky sex, torture and rebellion without sugar coating it so that they become "Radio Friendy Underground." Track three, "Femme Fatale" features the amazing Nico. The german model who confused everybody. Here you have a guy like Lou Reed singing as sincerely as anybody could, "I thought of you as my mountain top, thought of you as my peak. Thought of you as everything, I've had but couldn't keep." Sing it sweet Lou. And then you hear Nico. Her voice from Heaven. Such a strong contrast from voice to voice. Nico only appeared on this album, but went on to have a reasonably succesful solo career. "Run, Run, Run", "There she Goes Again", and "European Son" bring in the sounds that we would later call, "punk." "You're a European Son. You spit on those under 21."
You can argue all you want, but history has already spoken. Ever heard the line, "The Velvet Underground never sold a lot of albums, but those who bought them, started a band." It took over a decade for the album to reach six figures. There is a reason for this. The VU started rock and roll for those who were tired of the Beatles happy-go-lucky smiles and songs. And it helps that the man himself, Andy Warhol produced and discovered VU.
Bitch all you want. Debate until you pass out. The VU were here before the Sex Pistols, before the Ramones and before the Clash, the New York Dolls and MC5.
This is one of the greatest albums ever because of its simplicity and its entrance to the music scene. Punk has never seemed so perfect.
I always loved Black Francis' lyric, "I wanna be a singer like Lou Reed, 'I like Lou Reed' she said."
Simple. Sweet. Punk fucking rock. My own personal fucking opinion.
My own personal fucking opinion.