Friday, April 5, 2013

109 Loaded. Certainly is

Album: Loaded
Artist: The Velvet Underground
Year: 1970
Genre: Rock

  1. Who Loves the Sun
  2. Sweet Jane
  3. Rock & Roll
  4. Cool It Down
  5. New Age
  6. Head Held High
  7. Lonesome Cowboy Bill
  8. I Found a Reason
  9. Train Round the Bend
  10. Oh! Sweet Nuthin'
Loaded is the fourth album released by the Velvet Underground. Or it's the first solo album released by Lou Reed, it depends on your perspective. By the time the band came to record Loaded the original line up who produced the first album had fallen apart completely. Co-founder and songwriter John Cale had left along with chanteuse Nico and inspiration Andy Warhol. Drummer Maureen Tucker was away being pregnant which left only Reed and guitarist Sterling Morrison from the original band. Reed took over exclusive songwriting duties and oversaw the entire album production. He's effectively in charge and running the entire show.

Despite the fact that all three of them are in the top 500 somewhere, the record label weren't impressed with the sales of the earlier Velvet Underground albums and ordered Reed to produce an album "loaded" with hits. The result is consequently too commercial for a lot of die-hard VU fans who feel it's a sell out and not worth of the name. For others however it's a huge success.

I have to confess I'm one of those who feels Loaded is the best album the band produced. It might not be as daring as White Light White Heat, as quirky as the self titled album or as lyrically shocking as the debut but if you like rock and roll it's definitely their finest moment. Sweet Jane and Rock and Roll are among the finest songs Lou Reed ever wrote. They're both outstanding tracks and even if the rest of the album was just plodding filler it would be still be a great release.

The truth is the album isn't loaded with hits and nothing on either side comes close to Sweet Jane or Rock and Roll but there isn't a dud among them either. Oh Sweet Nuthin is great and Who Loves the Sun has some of the best lyrics Reed wrote and everything else is strong as well. There's nothing that will have you jumping for the skip button and there's something to enjoy on every track. John Cale fans might look down their noses at you for singing along to Lonesome Cowboy Bill but you'll be having too much fun to care.

Loaded is great and the Velvet Underground album I would recommend for anyone who has heard of them but is wary of their reputation. It might be more Lou Reed than VU but that doesn't  stop it being a great listen. Enjoy

Highlight: Rock and Roll
Lowlight: I Found a Reason

Influenced by: Commercial interests.
Influenced: Phish

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "this is just great... it makes me want to eat pie every day of my life"

-Is that really the test of a good album?

So is this Loaded with hits or Loaded with something else? Let me know below.

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