I hate self-titled albums. They just confuse everyone. But if you are going to have a self-titled album, make it be the first one. The Beatles’ self-titled album gets called “the white album,” which I’ve always thought was kind of silly. It’s because it’s white, get it? Of course you do, because there’s nothing to get. It’s grey lettering on a white background. It’s like they were teaching bad website design long before there were websites!
The problem is even worse with The Velvet Underground, which everyone I know just called “the third album” or “that one with the bad photo” or perhaps best, “the folk one.” Okay, not totally folk. There is “The Murder Mystery,” which is more an aural challenge just to see if you are willing to sit through to listen to After Hours. And I’m not sure it is, although I do love that song. In fact, I’d probably feature that song, if Maureen Tucker had not turned into a Tea Party Idiot.
So let me prepare you for Saturday, which is really going to be special. Really: you’ve got to come by; I’ll have a half hour of music you really ought to listen to. But until then, let’s listen to the Velvet Underground song “Candy Says.” It’s clearly one of those song that they would have had Nico sing if she hadn’t had better places to nod. This is, of course, exactly the point that the band was at when they recorded 1969: The Velvet Underground Live. What’s great about it is that, by and large, there is no pretense. For as much as I like Velvet Underground & Nico, there is a certain amount of pretending to be more hip than they actually are. All that is gone by this third album.