The Velvet Underground


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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Not as bad as you might think doesn’t seem like high praise, but when it comes to Squeeze -- the album Doug Yule released under the Velvet Underground’s name after the departure of Lou Reed -- it kind of is. Commonly regarded as an opportunistic, misguided disaster, a boneheaded attempt to carry on the legendary Velvets sound without any of the original members, the reputation of Squeeze is nothing short of abysmal -- but the thing about that reputation is that it comes from people who have never heard the album. Most people have never heard the album -- it’s been buried and rarely heard, so it’s been accepted as common knowledge that it’s awful and the truth is, it’s not. Now, it’s not great, it may not even be good, and in many ways, it is indeed a bit of a sacrilege to what Lou, John, Sterling, and Mo created, a comparison Doug Yule courts by going out of his way to create a commercial rewrite of Loaded, almost following its flow and topics track by track. The plagiarism is shameless -- and also misguided, because if nobody bought Loaded in the first place, who would want a glossy version of it? -- but it’s also the charm of Squeeze because Yule and his studio cats, headed by Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice, do create something that’s a square, cheerful knock-off of Loaded, containing none of the depth or innovation, but a little bit of its sunny swing. That’s hardly enough to make it unfairly maligned -- after all, it doesn’t just ride the coattails of VU’s legacy but deliberately co-opts their achievement -- but it’s listenable, something its reputation never suggests, and in a way, it’s almost fun to hear Yule ape Reed, provided that such shameless mimicry does not offend your sensibilities.

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