6. VELVET UNDERGROUND — Loaded
The idea of a polished, commercial VU record seems an oxymoron. But Loaded is both. It may not have been a chart success at the time, but over the years Loaded has gained status and regard in critical circles; Rolling Stone’s list of the best 500 albums of all time included it at #110. Lou Reed’s vision is tempered by the pop contributions of Doug Yule and diluted by John Cale’s absence (he’d been gone since before the previous album was recorded).
In fact, Lou had finished with bands and left the VU a couple of months before Loaded was released. Nonetheless, with classic Reed songs such as “Sweet Jane” and “Rock and Roll”, plus “New Age” and “Oh! Sweet Nothin’”, this is the most upbeat dose of Lou Reed you can get and an accessible entry point to the Velvet Underground if the first two LPs are a bit intimidating.
Where does Loaded fall in the VU canon for you?