#104 The Velvet Underground – White Light/White Heat

White Light/White Heat is The Velvet Underground‘s second entry in the 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. Things have changed since their debut album. They dropped Nico and Andy Warhol. This will be their last album with bassist John Cale. He and Lou Reed were not in agreement on the direction of the band.

This album is weird. I cannot imagine it being weirder, but according to everyone Cale left because he wanted to make weirder music and Reed wanted more accessible music.

The Gift” is the weirdest of songs. It is the story of Waldo Jeffers. He is away at college. He is afraid that his girlfriend will cheat on him so he ships himself to her in a box. If you want to be surprised of the story’s ending skip to the next paragraph. The girlfriend cheats. She receives the box. Chops it with a sheet metal cutter and stabs Jeffers in the head. Where’s Waldo? He is dead. I kind of liked it.

I love music, but I find it hard to focus on a song that is almost 18 minutes long. “Sister Ray” is about a transvestite smack dealer with drag queens, sailors, and the police. The Buzzcocks were formed over the love of this song. I got tired of it after a few minutes. I cannot imagine listening to it for 30 minutes in their concert.

The Velvet Underground is weird, but this was really bizarre. I liked the music and the experimentation on the album. The themes are really strange. I would rather hear more relatable topics. I think the album is good, but too strange for the average listener. 7/10.

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