Various Artists

Unpiecing the Jigsaw: A Tribute to the Velvet Underground

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Although there is nothing here that has not been released before, Unpiecing the Jigsaw still sits in your player, rejoicing in its status as the very last word (at least so far) in detailing just how much we owe the Velvet Underground. Drawn largely from the VU tributes that the Imaginary label released back in the 1990s, this generously stacked four-disc set rounds up no less than 31 classic remakes from as far afield as Nirvana, the Bunnymen, Buffalo Tom, Swervedriver, Fatima Mansions, and James. The track listing alone is a snapshot of the alternative scene of the early- to mid-'90s, and if too many of these bands seem to have been forgotten by modern history, then that's just one more reason why this set is so essential. The Velvets have never lacked for admirers; David Bowie and Brian Epstein were singing their praises before the first album was even released, and the punks of the 1970s barely dared go on-stage without a Velvets cover in their repertoire. But it took the late '80s and '90s to truly place the band's impact into perspective as a flavor that permeated every aspect of modern rock, and though few of the performances here deviate far from the VU's originals, the nature of the new artists shines through regardless. The result is one of the most successful tribute albums ever created and, just in case you think the story ends there, two cuts by original Velvet Nico and an interview with songwriter Lou Reed round out the disc in fantastic style.

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
blue highlight denotes track pick