Review #143: The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground

Karla Clifton
2 min readAug 4, 2021

#143: The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground

Recall another life, when I set out on this journey. The Velvet Underground & Nico was Review #23, and I was a good sport about it but I didn’t actually love it. I know, I know, it’s the banana record, the one that Andy Warhol had his dirty little mitts all over, the one that made 30,000 people start a band, according to Brian Eno. Everyone loves it.

Well, I didn’t love it. I called it “Let’s drink wine and finger-paint in space” music. I didn’t mean it as a compliment. But I tried to go into their third album with an open mind.

If you’re not a Velvet Underground fan, you might be wondering where the hell Nico went. Well, she got booted after the big banana record came out. I guess Lou Reed didn’t like how she would insist on burning a candle all the way down before shows (which, fair enough).

I didn’t realize this until recently, but Nico is partially deaf, which is why she sometimes gets off-key! (Something I complained about a lot in my last review.) Also, I learned that she was ostracized from the scene she used to be in as she got older, and Andy Warhol called her a “fat junkie,” and then she died in a cycling accident.

That makes me feel angry on her behalf and a tiny bit guilty that I made fun of her voice. But it doesn’t change the cold, hard facts: I liked this album without her way more than the album with her.


“Candy Says” — This song is about Candy Darling, a Warhol Superstar to whom Lou Reed also devoted a good portion of “Walk on the Wild Side.” You should read about her life because it’s actually kind of crazy. This is also just a beautiful song — the dreamy guitars all over this album are my favorite.

“What Goes On” — This dual-guitar solo rules.

“Some Kinda Love” — Classic blues song.

“Pale Blue Eyes” — I don’t necessarily think this is Lou Reed’s strongest poetry, but the chorus and guitar are lovely.

“Jesus” — Such strong male harmonies!


“The Murder Mystery” — Just made me confused.


I nominate this album to take the place of the banana record.

Review #142: Born in the U.S.A., Bruce Springsteen

Review #144: Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin