Lou Reed Richard Williams - Essay

Richard Williams

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Velvet Underground have made just three albums…. But that trio of albums constitutes a body of work which is easily as impressive as any in rock.

If you doubt that statement, then it's unlikely that you've listened hard to the albums, because they yield up their treasure only to a listener who is prepared to treat them with respect and intelligence….

It was immediately obvious that they were very different from the hundreds of other groups springing up during the American Rock Renaissance.

Their music was hard, ugly, and based in a kind of sadomasochistic world which few dared enter. The first album [was] called "The Velvet Underground And Nico,"… and a scary document it is….

"Femme Fatale" takes a standard pop-song form and turns it into something tantalising and frightening, while "All Tomorrow's Parties" is a grim view of the life of a Lower East Side good-time girl.

"Parties" and another track, "Venus In Furs," share the group's best trademark: a kind of heavy, almost martial beat, very hypnotic and quite unrelated to any other music you can think of….

By the time their second album, "White Light/White Heat" …, came round … they had got further into some of the McLuhanistic tricks hinted at in the first album….

The songs [on "The Velvet Underground"] were, in the main, quieter and more restrained, but the...

(The entire section is 425 words.)