“Oh, I do believe
If you don’t like things you leave
For some place you’ve never gone before.”
All I want to do is listen to Lou Reed. All I want to do is listen to him so much it stops his death being true. A stranger’s death should not do this to me or anyone. But it has, and if I could make sense of why my brain is thinking this way and transporting it down to my heart, then I’d be really thankful of that. I’d like some understanding, but I know I’m not going to get anywhere with it. So all I can do is listen to his voice in any way that I can. Just to take in his words and to get some understanding from it all.
The past few days I’ve gone back to listening to Loaded. I always thought their first record was the one I adored the most, I really thought I had made a solid decision for once. But hey, I was wrong. I’m alright with that.
For me, Loaded is something else. There’s something about that record which is stronger than the others. Maybe it is stronger because there is no way you can tell that this band were once influenced by Andy Warhol. Sure the songs are more accessible than the likes of Heroin or Venus In Furs (but don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like those songs, or VU in general.) Loaded is full of songs that make you move in the most sassy way possible. Lou’s voice just makes you strut in the most flamboyant way possible. He embraced everything that is deemed as “weird” but on Loaded it seems more tame. For some, this may be shying away from all the Velvets were, but you must remember that they were a band that were ahead of their time. No one has ever come close to what they did, and still manage to do even though….well, you know.
Who Loves The Sun is a heartbreaking but beautiful sang by Doug Yule. Nothing matters once you’ve had your heart ripped out. No other songs sums it up more than Who Loves The Sun. However for me, the song that really does it for me is Rock & Roll. Rock & Roll sums up perfectly what it is like to fall in love with a song, and to then fall for the band behind it. It conjures up memories of falling in love with your favourite band(s) all over again as you listen to it. When I hear it, I just think about staring at that poster of Lou Reed and of Nick Cave on my uncle’s bedroom wall when I was about 3 or 4. I remember being in awe of them both, little did I know what would happen about 10 years later. I always think “Her life was saved by Rock & Roll” to be one of the most accurate lyrics ever written. I guess it’s probably because I feel it was written for me, I’m sure others feel exactly the same when they hear it.
I adore Lou’s vocals on this record. When he goes high and love on Cool It Down, and does something really gnarly with his voice on it. I think this just shows how brilliant he was as a vocalist. Sometimes he sounded bored on some songs, and that’s what lured you in. You wanted to see it all like he did, but obviously for the most part his voice just took you over with how sincere it was. His lyrics are a guide for life, and on Loaded it shows just how to have fun and to embrace every little thing that you can.
Loaded is a record that is pretty much taking over my mind at the moment. It’s the only thing I want to constantly listen to, and you know it has the greatest love song on it, right? I Found A Reason is a hopeful love song- especially if you’re hopeless like myself. I just love everything about it. I love the innocence to it, and in some respects you can say this about a few songs Lou Reed wrote (both with the Velvets and solo.) His innocent and vulnerable way with words just showcases how much of a genius he was, and his words are what he will always be remembered for. I Found A Reason is that one song that just captures everything love is. It doesn’t have to be in a romantic sense, if you don’t want it to be. It can be about finding a friend that finally gets you. Or maybe the whole song is a few minutes of irony, who knows. But dear reader, if you happen to find a friend who really gets you. Like really fucking gets you, and doesn’t mind that 3am phone call when your brain won’t turn off- then please hold onto them. Even if you have a weak grip. They will probably turn out to be the best pal you ever had, and you went about everything in the wrong way. Because that is what you do.
Loaded is a proper Rock & Roll record. They’ve got the riffs that make you wish you could play the guitar, they’ve got the songs that just move you- in body and mind. It’s a fantastic record that I still think isn’t given as much attention as it rightfully needs. I’m all for people saying that the Velvets first record was a stroke of genius, because it really is. But the thing is with Loaded, it is a record full of hidden beautiful moments that you pick up on when you have it playing over and over. I don’t know if it is actually possible to pick a favourite record by them and to stick with it. Maybe next week I’ll go back to declaring their self-titled record as their best work, but that just shows how brilliant The Velvet Underground were. Every record sounds different and is a step up from the last.
For me, I’ll always regard Lou and Mo Tucker to be two of the best at what they did..do..did. I’m not sure what tense to use anymore because the past tense just doesn’t sit right with me. Mo’s relaxed (yet furious when needed) drumming really fits with Lou’s soothing voice. If it was just those two making music, I still have every bit of confidence that they would have been the best band ever. When you listen to the music they made with each other, you can hear how they brought out the best in each other.
If you’ve got this far, I hope it makes you go and play Loaded in full. It’s just a romantic and perfect record. It is timeless and the lyrics are full of beauty. I just really miss Lou.