The Velvet Underground

20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection: Best Of The Velvet Underground

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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.

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