Monday, May 12, 2008

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat (1968)

Εδώ έχουμε το δεύτερο δημιούργημα των Velvet Underground και τελευταίο όμως όσον αφορά την συμμετοχή του John Cale. O Lou Reed εκφράζει απόλυτα την μουσική διαφορετικότητα του με ότι άλλο υπήρχε το 60. Πρωτοπόρος σε διάφορα πράγματα μάλλον θα πρέπει από αυτό τον δίσκο να του αποδοθεί ο όρος περί sex, drugs and rock’n roll αρκεί βέβαια να προσέξει κανείς τις αναφορές στους στίχους του. Μέσα στις πειραματικές αναζητήσεις του σε διάφορα κομμάτια στο δίσκο, θα σταθώ στο "Here She Comes Now" που μου αρέσει ιδιαίτερα. Στους αγαπημένους Velvet Underground θα επανέλθω.

After the disappointing sales of The Velvet Underground's first album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, the band's relationship with Andy Warhol weakened. The Velvets toured most of late 1967. Many of their live performances featured noisy improvisations that would become key elements in White Light/White Heat. The band eventually fired Andy Warhol and Nico, and went on to record their second album with a new producer. The album was recorded in just two days, and with a noticeably different style than The Velvet Underground and Nico. It briefly appeared on the Billboard Top 200, only managing to reach the 199th position. Despite its poor sales, the distorted, feedback-driven, and roughly recorded sound on White Light/White Heat has since become a large influence on punk and experimental rock. It ranks at #159 at Rate Your Music's Top Albums of All Time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 292 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. It has also gained a cult following among many fans of the album.

Nearly every song on the album contains some sort of experimental or avant-garde quality. "The Gift", for example, contains a recital of a short story and a loud instrumental rock song playing simultaneously in two separate stereo channels. "I Heard Her Call My Name" is notable for its distorted guitar solos and prominent use of feedback. The album is also memorable for Lou Reed's lyrics, which often focus on themes of drug use and sexual absurdity, including the song "Lady Godiva's Operation", about a drag queen's botched lobotomy, and the title track "White Light/White Heat", which glorifies the use of amphetamine.

The albums' last track is "Sister Ray" on which Reed tells a tale of absolute debauchery, while the band plays an improvised 17 minute jam around 3 chords verging between glam/punk and pure minimalist drone rock. The album cover to White Light/White Heat is a faint image of a tattoo of a skull. The subtle picture of the tattooed arm was photographed, enlarged and distorted by Billy Name, one of Andy Warhol's "Factory" members. It is difficult to distinguish the tattoo, as the image is black, printed on a slightly lighter black background. There also exists a unique MGM UK cover made from the late 70's to the early 80's featuring a white background and abstract toy soldiers.

Lou Reed - vocals, guitar, piano
John Cale - vocals, electric viola, organ, bass guitar
Sterling Morrison - vocals, guitar, bass guitar
Maureen Tucker - percussion

1. "White Light/White Heat" (Reed) – 2:47
2. "The Gift" (Reed, Morrison, Cale, Tucker) – 8:18
3. "Lady Godiva's Operation" (Reed) – 4:56
4. "Here She Comes Now" (Reed, Morrison, Cale) – 2:04
5. "I Heard Her Call My Name" (Reed) – 4:38
6. "Sister Ray" (Reed, Morrison, Cale, Tucker) – 17:27


david santos said...

Excellent post.
I loved this post and this blog.
Have a nice week.

Haris said...

Πολύ καλό άλμπουμ.Έχει έναν πολύ ιδιαίτερο ήχο όπως και ο πρώτος δίσκος τους που είναι και ο κορυφαίος τους.Να'σαι καλά.

psych-Spaniolos said...

Thanks a lot for your comments

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this very nice blog. btw. what is that 'spaniolos'? :)

Jessie said...

"Lady Godiva's Operation" is about a transsexual's bptcjed gender reassignment (sex change surgery) -not an uncommon problem at that time in history, alas. Lou Reed was quite fond of transsexual women and lived with one for a period of time during this era. A drag queen is not the same thing as a transsexual - and Lou definitely knew the difference.