This album came at a time where no one dared to explicitly write songs about the extensive drug use and sexual experimentation that took place during the particular period. Whilst not a technical marvel in terms of instrumentation or musical performance, “The Velvet Underground & Nico” shook the very boundaries of popular rock music and was arguably the birth of alternative rock. The album, a critical failure upon release, is now considered one of the most important records in history.
TVU&N is built primarily around musical experimentation through using unorthodox instrumentation that had previously never been associated with rock music. Guitar is raw and often jarring as demonstrated in “Heroin”, which is essentially a musical representation of the effects of the drug. “Venus in Furs”, one of the most experimental and intriguing tracks, is driven by Lou Reed’s menacing ostrich guitar that reverberates throughout the entirety of the cut.
On the contrary, the rawness is not always prominent, as shown in opener “Sunday Morning”, which is a delicate and fragile lullaby-like track that eases the listener into the record. “Femme Fatale” is another soothing piece, effectively demonstrating the natural vocal partnership between Reed and Nico. There is a fine balance of brash and daring tracks with softer, almost easy-listening style pieces. Today still, the album sounds unique and holds its own despite the millions of musicians that listened and took a little something away from it.
Favourite track: Venus in Furs // Least favourite track: Run Run Run