The Velvet Underground
By David Chiu
This collection is purely for those who have never heard of the Velvet Underground or who are getting into the band’s music for the first time; after this, those same people might be tempted to get all of the band’s first four studio albums. Still, while this 11-song set doesn’t do justice to the legacy since there are other great VU songs that aren’t here, ICON nevertheless does feature the essential tracks, starting with a good portion of songs from the Velvet Underground and Nico record: “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Venus in Furs,” the lovely “Sunday Morning,” and the epic and immortal “Heroin.” The tracks from the noisy White Light/White heat are represented on ICON with the fervent title song and “Here She Comes Now.” In contrast, the third Velvet Underground album was a departure from its predecessor, particularly with the mellow and lovely ballad “Pale Blue Eyes.” The tracks from Velvets final album with Lou Reed are presented in their live versions and have become signature songs of the band: “Rock and Roll” and “Sweet Jane.” (The pretty ballad “Stephanie Says” and the rocking “I Can’t Stand It” appear on 1985’s VU compilation). As said earlier, this collection is a nice starter to VU but only tells a fraction of the story.