Sweet Jane by The Velvet Underground Somewhat abbreviated this week (which I’m sure most of you will prefer) (well actually, this is probably an ideal length considering the attention span I often request of you.) as I’m not going to be able finish my screed on social networking (in light of watching The Social Network) in comparison to and in conjunction with MMORPGs (google it) (in light of my experiences this last weekend). Please await with bated breath.
Sweet Jane has popped up two or three times randomly the previous week or so and I forgot how much I liked it. I read once (or have read several times) sort of an anecdotal-hipster-(You know, I use the word “hipster” quite a bit. I don’t know what you all think it means. So for purposes of clarity, here is the wikipedia definition and here is what I mean when it is used here.)-compliment regarding Velvet Underground. The compliment is essentially “Not very many people listened to Velvet Underground when they were together, but everyone who did formed a band.” OK, so I guess that means unpopularly (made up word) influential. Good for them. But to me, The Velvet Underground is just pretty much Lou Reed (and that’s him singing Sweet Jane), who I really enjoy and who should have graced these pages before today. I love his music, but my favorite ever is that he released a double album titled Metal Machine Music in 1975. The album (and I have neither purchased nor listened to it. So don’t think I’m that big of a dork) is literally nothing but noise, no music, no songs, nothing. Just a double-album full of sped up and slowed down distortion and feedback. Reed released it during the acme of his career. It was virtual career suicide in a popular reception sense. What captivates me about it is the ocean of music criticism it’s left in its wake (that may be a metaphor jumble. I’m not sure). A few of my favorites: (1) “Well, I have. Played it, that is. Once. Which is one of the better feats of endurance in my life, equal to reading The Painted Bird, sitting through Savage Messiah and spending a night in a bus terminal in Hagerstown, Maryland.” (N.B. none of these references mean anything to me) from Rolling Stone; (2) “In sum, if you want to indulge the pretentious art student residing in that pretentious indie rocker shell that you have constructed so well I’d definitely recommend Metal Machine Music.” from The (pretentious) Guardian UK; (3) “It is the greatest record ever made in the history of the human eardrum. Number Two: Kiss Alive.” by Lester Bangs in Cream; and (4) “Within weeks of MMM’s release, the stores were flooded with returns from burned consumers flim-flammed into laying out for the rear-ended Pinto of rock ‘n’ roll.” by Eine Kleine (now that’s funny). But Lou Reed’s takes on it were my two favorites: (1) “I was serious about it. But I was also really, really stoned” and (2) “Well, anyone who gets to side four is dumber than I am.” Enjoy