The Velvet Underground – ‘What Goes On’

The Velvet Underground may have made more ground-breaking and challenging music and they may have made some prettier pop songs too, but they never sounded like they were having a better time than on What Goes On.

I spend a lot of time over on Twitter shouting about great songs, so I’m delighted to get involved with Record of the Day for 50thirdandthird. This way I can get ignored by a whole load more people. For my first RotD choice I thought I’d bring out a big gun – The Velvet Underground.

Lou Reed’s mob are one of those rare bands that operate on a higher plain, regularly transcending music and making magic instead. It’s tough to pick out just one of their songs but What Goes On, the only single off their self-titled 1969 third album, gets the nod. It’s one of those times they get magical.

Musically, there’s nothing to it, really – just a couple of loose riffs on jangly guitar and organ and Lou singing with an audible smile on his face – but it’s joyous, celebratory and uplifting every time you put it on. A guaranteed mood-booster. Doing something so simple to such astonishing effect is a mark of what a fantastic band The Velvet Underground were.

Like the man says, when you listen to What Goes On, “you know it will be alright”.

 

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Nick Perry

Nick writes fact, fiction and opinion in various places including
his music blog noisecrumbs.com. His musical tastes cover indie, grunge, golden-era hip hop, punk, funk, psychedelia and a big portion of distortion. You can and should follow him on Twitter @NoiseCrumbs.

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