I certainly could have spent the whole week on Velvet Underground & Nico. I do think it is the most fulfilling of their studio albums. Loaded has some of my favorite material and I really like the production. But I think it’s uneven. I’ll probably come back to that later. But today we are going to start on White Light/White Heat.
The album has a bit too much rock jam to it. And I’ll admit, Velvet Underground jams tend to be more interesting than other jams of that period. But still, “The Gift” is a bit much and “Sister Ray” (which I rather like) is too long. I do know this: after the first album (which was the first that I bought), White Light/White Heat was a disappointment. I do think there’s a tendency to see certain bands like the Velvet Underground (And good God: The Beatles!) as constantly brilliant and perfect. None of them are, as great as they may be.
The song “White Light/White Heat” is a gem. For one thing, I like that it doesn’t much make me think of speed, which it most clearly is about. The background vocals are simultaneously sweet and hilarious. It’s another song that Reed was never able to properly sing during his solo career. I might just have to spend another day on this album. We’ll see. Not a lot of time.