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The Velvet Underground: Loaded

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (12/11/03, p.120) - Ranked #109 in Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Albums Of All Time" - "[A] record that highlights the R&B/doo-wop roots and Sun Records crackle deep inside the Velvets' noir-guitar maelstrom..."

Rolling Stone (12/24/70, p.51) - "...LOADED is merely a refinement of the Velvet Underground's music as it has grown through the course of their past three albums....[it's] a celebration of the spirit of rock 'n' roll..."

Q (7/93, p.115) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...a laudable album. 'Sweet Jane' and 'Rock & Roll' are the pivotal tracks but the lovely harmonies of 'I Found A Reason' and the extended workout of 'Oh! Sweet Nuthin'' stand proud as peak Velvets..."

Album Notes

Velvet Underground: Lou Reed (vocals, guitar, piano); Doug Yule (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, piano, organ, bass, drums); Sterling Morrison (guitar); Moe Tucker (drums).

Additional personnel: Tommy, Bill Yule, Adrian Barber (percussion).

Producers: Geoffrey Haslam, Shel Kagan, The Velvet Underground.

LOADED was a fitting end for the mighty Velvet Underground. Lou Reed had penned an album seemingly packed with hits, but by now, four LPs into the Velvets' career, only a sad few record buyers appreciated the band. Resignation permeates the album. Reed's voice is noticeably ragged, and bassist Doug Yule ended up recording many of the vocals for the final mix. Drummer Moe Tucker was pregnant, and Yule's brother Billy sat in on drums for most of the sessions. This was no longer the art rock Velvet Underground, but a far more accessible version, relying on Reed's songwriting over the band's overall musicality. Yet LOADED is arguably VU's most immediately satisfying album. Less overtly experimental than any of their other releases, the record still overflows with hooks, churning grooves and Lou Reed's irresistibly unique pop sensibility. In addition to the certifiable rock classics "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll" (which alone should elevate the album into the rock pantheon), there are shiny, ironic ditties ("Who Loves the Sun"), cool, folk-rocking groovers ("Cool It Down"), and beautiful, weary ballads ("Oh! Sweet Nuthin'"). LOADED shimmers and gleams for all of its finality. While the album closed the book on the Velvet Underground's life, it also solidified their significant niche in rock history.


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