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20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground

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Album Review

It seems rather silly for the ultimate cult band to have a volume of Universal's 20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection series, since even if the Velvet Underground were often song oriented, they were never singles oriented, and if this series is anything, it's singles oriented. That doesn't mean VU's 20th Century Masters doesn't work, though. Most of their big songs — "I'm Waiting for the Man," "Heroin," "White Light/White Heat," "Sister Ray," "What Goes On," "Pale Blue Eyes" — are here, as are live versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll" (the studio versions were on Loaded, the one studio album the Velvets didn't do for Verve and therefore unavailable for the compilers). While some could argue that "Candy Says," "I'll Be Your Mirror," "Ocean," "I Heard Her Call My Name," or several other songs should have been included instead of the three remaining songs — which, for the record, are "Run, Run, Run," "Beginning to See the Light-" and "I Can't Stand It" — these tunes are nevertheless beloved by Velvets fans (but what VU song isn't?). Then again, this is designed for the casual fan or the curious listener wanting a good sampler. And this certainly is a good sampler of one of the greatest bands in history even if, to trot out the old rock critic cliché, you really should just own all of their albums in the first place.

Customer Reviews

Nico would ask why...

This Velvet Underground collection captures a small taste of the band. Buying the bands first album and the second album separately, rather than going the "best of" approach, gives the listener a cohesive feel to the sound of the band at two distinct points in the band’s history. A few songs should be taken in with the collective work of the album, rather than alone in a hodgepodge of a "Masters" collection. Listening to these songs first may taint the listener, but for a veteran, this may be worth your money. To all those who have not heard the band, do not start here. Buy the first album for a mere eight dollars, peel slowly, and see.

Darn You, 20th Century Masters!

Leave it to the folks at 20th Century Masters to release a compilation album and totally mess it up with songs that are either unnecessary or unessential. Nowadays, about 4 out of 5 people haven't heard of The Velvet Underground, which is a shame. I would say to those people to start with the band's debut album or Loaded to get introduced, but I wouldn't recommend this greatest hits album. Though it's in chronological order (All right!), we can see that this album is not the best of the band. Where's "Sunday Morning"? Why is "Run, Run, Run" on here, but not "Who Loves the Sun"? And why not just get the original versions of "Sweet Jane" and "Rock 'n Roll" (My favorite Velvet Underground song)? The live cuts featured on here are very disappointing. Okay, so it's not completely unfortunate. They've at least included "I'm Waiting for the Man" and "Heroin" and "White Light / White Heat". They really should've added some more highlights from the band's fourth album, Loaded. I've never thought that 20th Century Masters have been able to include the VERY best songs by the band in question. You're much better off getting a more complete one. Try the two-disc Gold collection or something like that. Recommended Tracks: "I'm Waiting for the Man (Stereo)" "Heroin (Stereo)" "White Light / White Heat" "What Goes On"

who cares what wannabe critics say....

I have their other records but bought this on a trip to have while traveling. Its all scratched up on the floorboard of my car now. Buy this because it's convenient.

Biography

Formed: 1964 in New York, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '90s

Few rock groups can claim to have broken so much new territory, and maintain such consistent brilliance on record, as the Velvet Underground during their brief lifespan. It was the group's lot to be ahead of, or at least out of step with, their time. The mid- to late '60s was an era of explosive growth and experimentation in rock, but the Velvets' innovations — which blended the energy of rock with the sonic adventurism of the avant-garde, and introduced a new degree of social realism and sexual...
Full Bio