Lou Reed has always steadfastly maintained that the Velvet Underground were just another Long Island rock 'n' roll band, but in the past, he really couldn't be blamed much if people didn't care to take him seriously. With a reputation based around such non-American Bandstand masterpieces as "Heroin" and "Sister Ray," not to mention a large avant-garde following which tended to downplay the Velvets' more Top-40 roots, the group certainly didn't come off as your usual rock'em-sock'em Action House combination.
Well, it now turns out that Reed was right all along, and the most surprising thing about the change in the group is that there has been no real change at all. Loaded is merely a refinement of the Velvet Underground's music as it has grown through the course of their past three albums, and if by this time around they seem like a tight version of your local neighborhood rockers, you only have to go back to their first release and listen to things like "I'm Waiting For The Man" and the "Hitch-Hike"-influenced "There She Goes Again" for any answers.
And yet, though the Velvet Underground on Loaded are more loose and straightforward than we've yet seen them, there is an undercurrent to the album that makes it more than any mere collection of good-time cuts. Lou Reed's music has always concerned itself with the problem of salvation, whether it be through drugs and decadence (The Velvet Underground and Nico), or...
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