Sunday, April 25, 2004

#2) The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (released in 1968, I got this on cassette from Streetside Records in Bloomington, IN the summer after 8th grade. Me and my only friend at the time, Pat Stevens, were both kind of disappointed by it. Except for "Sister Ray")

The only way you can beat the best Chuck Berry is through insanity and bombast. It has to feel like an accident, and it's pretty clear nobody knew what the fuck they were doing when White Light/White Heat. The topics on this album are, in order, matricidal speed freaks, a hapless romantic getting his mind split open while sitting in a cardboard box, lobotomized transvestites, a woman's long-awaited orgasm, another mind getting split open and a crime/sex story that makes up in enthusiasm ("Whip it on me, Jim! Whip it on me, Jim!") what it lacks in clarity. The band sounds giggly as fuck, guitars bouncing off the walls, Lou Reed screaming "suckin' on my ding-dong! too busy suckin' on my ding-dong!" and Maureen Tucker just pounding away, oblivious to the carnage around her. It's like Animal House if they HAD been handing out amphetamines during finals week. Everybody talks about how important the Velvet Underground is, but nobody talks about how fun these freaks were. It's not like they were just artists. Don't make me drive during "Sister Ray" unless you want to see me pop a wheelie.

No comments: