VU

The Velvet Underground

VU

Given how relatively unnoticed The Velvet Underground went compared to how big their reputation became, it makes sense that the songs on 1985’s VU had been essentially lost for more than a decade following the band’s breakup. After all, what better way to honor something ahead of its time than to put it on a shelf until people are ready?
Recorded between The Velvet Underground and Loaded, the music on VU represents the band’s softer, sweeter side—the sound of shy people turning rock ’n’ roll into a secret attic club. Even when they sound tough, they can’t help but make being tough sound goofy, whether it’s Lou Reed singing about living in a garbage can and getting beat up with a mop by his landlady (“I Can’t Stand It”) or taking a scene as violent as “Foggy Notion” (“they hit her harder, harder, harder”) and adding mention of calamine lotion for no other reason, seemingly, than that it rhymes.
  But the collection’s most beautiful song is “Stephanie Says,” not just because of its lonesome viola or gently descending chord change, but because of how they make Stephanie’s alienation sound casual yet quietly heroic—a transformation that could make any wallflower believe.

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