A fantastic out takes collection.
Laszlo Matyas | 05/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In 1969, the Velvet Underground parted ways with Verve Records (which, along with its parent ocmpany MGM, had released their first three albums) and signed with Atlantic, recording and releasing 1970's Loaded. Before switcihng labels, however, the group had recorded several songs for what was to be their fourth Verve album. None of those songs followed the group to Atlantic, and for years they languished in MGM's vaults. Then, in the 80s, as the Velvets' posthumous legend grew and the group's albums began to be re-released on vinyl and CD, the folks over at MGM released 10 of those "lost tracks" as VU (others surfaced on Another View). The songs, recorded between 1968 and 1969, are in a similar vein to the band's gentle, melodic third album. With the exception of "Stephanie Says" and "Temptation Inside Your Heart" (which feature our old friend John Cale), these songs were recorded with multi-instrumentalist Doug Yule, as well as de-facto leader Lou Reed, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Maureen Tucker.
But enough about that. You're probably here because you wanna know if it's a good album. It is- as a matter of fact, it's fantastic, easily as good as any of their "official" releases. For one thing, the disc shows Reed's growth as a lyricist: "Lisa Says" is one of his most heartrendingly beautiful compositions (and he's written a lot of beautiful songs), full of quiet yearning and subdued passion. "Stephanie Says" and "She's My Best Friend" are similar, although slightly more dreamy and surreal. All three songs are also musically superb, full of lilting melodies and twisting guitar lines. The jolting "I Can't Stand It" is one of the group's finest rockers, and "Ocean" is one of their dreamiest, most ethereal explorations. "Andy's Chest" and "I'm Sticking With You" are lightweight (almost childish) but undeniably fun, with gently playful melodies and lyrics. "Temptation Inside Your Heart" is a bouncy rocker with some great vocal asides from Reed, and "One of these Days" is a pleasently weird electric-country vamp. Best of all is "Foggy Notion," which is simply one of the greatest rock and roll songs of all time: It's a rollicking, raving fist-pumper with some wonderfully weightless guitars, a storming pulse of rhythm, and some of the greatest sleazily exuberant sing-along lyrics ever. Dancde to it or die.
If you've never listened to the Velvets before, you may want to start elsewhere, but if you're a fan of the group, this is an invaluable aritfact of the later period Velvet Underground that is worth every penny. Happy listening!"