Sunday Night Music

12/01/2013 09:58:00 PM
Allow me to add some rock & roll (and some twentieth century, for that matter) to the blog's music selection. In honor of Mr. Lou Reed, who we lost a few weeks back, I've selected what might be the Velvet Underground's single most energetic number: What Goes On, off their eponymous third album.
The driving guitars are matched in fury only by perhaps "I Heard Her Call My Name" from White Light/White Heat, the preceding album. However I find this track much more melodic, which is reflective of the album of a whole. The Velvet Underground, a personal and dear favorite of mine, can be seen as a dramatic shift away from the wild experimentation the Velvets had become noteworthy for. Here we note the absence of John Cale, who represented the most avant garde taste in the group, and the curtailing of Andy Warhol's role in production. What we're left with is an utterly listenable collection of ten songs that ranges from feisty (this track, "Beginning to See the Light"), gorgeous ("Pale Blue Eyes", "I'm Set Free"), and cute ("Story of my Life", "After Hours") to mildly subversive ("Jesus"). The transexual tale "Candy Says" seriously bolsters their already solid counterculture cred, while "The Murder Mystery", the most experimental but probably weakest song on the record, features overlapping vocals from each band member. The result is somewhat cacaphonous, but never short of intriguing.