“Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart.”
There’s always a band, a song, a record that changes everything for you. It can be specific point in a song that just makes you think “Oh shit..this is it .THIS IS IT.” You don’t care if the end of the world comes because you’re in the midst of hearing something truly incredible. It doesn’t have to be a song from decades ago. It could be a song you heard this week, there’s no time constraint on this. It’s all about that moment, and how it makes you feel. For instance, most of these intense feelings for me, come from hearing Warpaint. Certain songs have precise moments that conjure up this feeling. Beach House too. But if we’re going back in time, I’m taking it back to the time of Velvet Underground.
Velvet Underground indulged in drug riddled, sexually fuelled and decadent lyrics. Thing is, these things are only seen as decadent by those who are small-minded and prudish, you know? No good ever came from being small-minded. I’m not saying let’s all go have drug induced orgies in the street. Can you imagine if that ever happened? “Yeah what happened was..I was err…well, Lou Reed’s voice just turned me on and this happened.” It could happen. Let’s hope it does, just to shock everyone.
I remember first hearing Venus In Furs when I was very very young. My uncle is a HUGE fan of anything Lou Reed has ever done (doubt he rates the Metallica thing.) And I remember one day being played the first Velvet Underground record. It was like some kind of epiphany. I wasn’t just hearing a collection of songs. I was hearing poetry. I was hearing music that would go on to play such a huge role in my life. It is Lou’s lyrics in general that have this wonderful grip on me.
Venus In Furs is a song that hypnotises you. There is something about the way it creeps up on you, swirls itself in and out of you. Then it eventually wraps itself around you like a serpent, holding onto you for the rest of time. You don’t allow yourself to feel this strongly towards any other song because this one..man this one just makes you come alive.
This is just musically. Lyrically it’ll leave you weeping into your hands because you know that there is no other song in the world that has been written like this since. Others probably try to write something as powerful as this. The lyrics in this song are sheer poetry.
The song oozes ideas of bondage and submission. The way Lou delves into this world is in a way that, anyone else would probably make it so smutty and degrading. He does it in a way that sounds like something that just happens, anyone else would make it extremely perverse. Maybe at the time it was.
The intro of the song is carried throughout the song. It sounds a bit like nails on a chalkboard. It makes your face crease up, you squirm. Like you are writhing about in pain. But do you turn away? Nah. Far from it. You keep going. You stay with this. There are parts of this song that mean more to me than any other song I have ever heard. Lou manages to sum up exactly how I feel in one verse. No other song can actually get to the core like he did with this song :
“I am tired, I am weary. I could sleep for a thousand years. A thousand dreams that would awake me. Different colours made of tears.”
I just adore this so much. I guess it is because I constantly feel like this. Tired. Always tired. The rest of the song? I cannot relate to. But, like I’ve stated- this song changed everything for me. It just makes you appreciate music in a different way. It’s on a different level to anything before or after it.
The song is full of sinister lines that make you smirk. If you just listen to the song casually and take nothing in, you’re not listening to it properly. I’ve played the song so many times, and every time I notice a different line to just love.
“Taste the whip, in love not given lightly.”
I think even if you weren’t sure on the subject matter of this brilliant track, this line sums up exactly what it is about. Dark and twisted. Would you have it any other way? Of course you wouldn’t.
If I was going to introduce someone to Velvet Underground (I’d take much pleasure in doing so I reckon) this would be the song I’d use firstly. I suppose if this didn’t do anything for them I’d be hurt in some way ha. Maybe it is THE ultimate Velvet Underground song. I’ll always regard it as one of the greatest songs ever written. I do think though, my heart has a firm attachment to Run Run Run (hence the blog name Gypsy Death And You…reference to The Kills of course!) I just have so much love and respect for Velvet Underground.
Songs as deep and as raw as this do not exist anymore. They do not have that intense build-up within them. I am fascinated by how the intro is throughout and makes you squirm. Play this song to the most uptight and prudish person you know, watch their reaction. You’ll want to film it. Unless they are not a deep thinker. If that’s the case, they won’t get it will they. Shame.
Velvet Underground are a band I feel that when you listen to them for the first time- that’s it. You’re hooked. It doesn’t matter at what point in your life you are turned onto them, their music is timeless. GOOD music is just like that. You still feel part of it no matter what. They started something no one else has managed to even compete with. Those that are influenced by them carry their importance around and spread the word. Velvet Underground went beyond being just a band. Venus In Furs has all these different layers to it then you truly get from listening through headphones. Something takes you over. Hooked and hypnotised. Just how it should be. When a song like this comes from a band’s debut record, you know you have found something life-changing and inspiring.