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152 customer reviews

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Loaded (US Release)
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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This is the one with Sweet Jane; Rock & Roll; Oh! Sweet Nuthin'; New Age , and more of the last tracks by an iconic rock band.

While John Cale certainly gave the first couple of Velvet Underground albums a signature sound, his departure enabled Lou Reed to do exactly what he does best: write kick-ass, stripped-down rock songs. On Loaded his talent comes to full fruition. Who can imagine a world without "Sweet Jane" and "Rock & Roll," arguably two of the greatest rock tunes ever penned? The brilliance of those songs is so bright, it's easy to overlook a couple of other Reed masterpieces: the tender, epic discourse of "New Age" (which highlights his assured sense of poetic wordplay: "And when you kissed Robert Mitchum / Gee, but I thought you'd never catch him!") and the extended sweet blues romp of "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'." On Loaded the Velvet Underground--who before had hit the sonic ceiling experimenting with shattered chords, feedback, screeching violas, and what Reed once claimed was "the fastest guitar playing ever"--eschew the dark side of noise for clarity. Check out the ringing chime that begins "Who Loves the Sun" and the sterling (no pun intended) guitar riff that drives "Rock & Roll." This is not to say that the old ragged punch of the original Velvets is completely gone. Moe Tucker still beats a mean set of skins; there's no stopping Sterling Morrison's train-wreck rhythm guitar on "Train Round the Bend"; and "Head Held High" achieves near-"Sister Ray" moments of madness. --Tod Nelson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Strat. Mkt.
  • ASIN: B000002LVB
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,663 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Patrick W. Schubert on November 15, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This record has always seemed to divide many velvets fans. To some, its the band's greatest achievement, to other's, its a failed attempt to pander to mainstream tastes. As with most things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. "Loaded" is, in many ways, a blatantly commercial pop record. But, is this necessarily a bad thing? It's not as if "Loaded" is lacking in substance. "Sweet Jane", "Rock and Roll" and "Oh! Sweet Nothing" are timeless, expertly crafted songs that just happen to be alot more accessable than much of the group's earlier material. It's just a shame that Moe Tucker was not on hand to lend her minimalistic, one-of-a-kind style of drumming to this album.
This 2-CD set is, in this Velvets fan opinion, absolutely essential. Even if you own the box set, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. It contains a treasure trove of previously unreleased material that is uniformly excellent. I love how disc two features an alternate version of "Loaded" in the same running order as the original. If you are considering purchasing this album, by all means, skip the standard CD version and instead spring the little bit of extra money for the "Fully Loaded" edition. The sound and packaging are superior and you get about 80% more material. Its well worth it.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Marco Polo on November 2, 2015
Format: Audio CD
If you're going to squeeze the Velvets completist out of his or her hard earned cash one last time, at least give them something new, and make the box a complete collection of everything relevant to the album and its making. This expensive deluxe edition is missing several cuts from the Live at Max's concert, Lou's final performance with the band as recorded by Brigid Polk. It contains zero selections from the incredible rehearsal tape recorded by Danny Fields in late June, just prior to the beginning of the Max's engagement. Instead, we get a horribly sounding recording of a drumerless three man version of the Velvets playing in May '70 at the Second Fret in Philly. Look, I love everything these people did but they without either Moe or Billy, they don't even sound like a band here. They sound like 3/4's of band rehearsing without a drummer. And the sound quality, again, is terrible.

Finally, the two biggest omissions.

First, how about somewhere among the six CD's releasing THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THE ALBUM? The only version that anyone heard before 1995, before the misbegotten attempts to restore the "Heavenly wine and roses" part of Sweet Jane and add extra choruses to New Age by horribly splicing on a different take. Yuck! These were parts, by the way, that Doug, Sesnick and LOU REED HIMSELF had wisely edited off the album before Lou's departure.

Second, if for no other reason than to provide a piece of history of the band, why couldn't they have released the two cuts which the post-Lou band (Sterling, Moe, Doug and Walter Powers) recorded for Atlantic in November 1970? "Friends" and "She'll Make You Cry." C'mon, Lou leaving and Doug attempting to assume leadership is part of the history of the band, and OF THIS ALBUM PROJECT IN PARTICULAR. Let us hear what they were trying to do, for better or worse!

This box set is a terrible ripoff, with nothing to recommend.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Moore on June 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
"Loaded" was Lou Reed's rock and roll masterpiece, an album that dropped the screaming guitars, overt drug references, and weird (but beautiful) experiments in favor of a stripped down reinterpretation of three-chord rock and roll. In many respects, "Loaded" foreshadowed the back-to-basics aesthetic of the garage and punk movements of the 70s (see the first albums by the Ramones, the Modern Lovers, and the Pretenders, for example).
"Loaded" (available in the VU boxed set and in its original format as a single disk) with its occasional nods to pop culture and musical fads (something the Velvets specifically avoided on other releases) sounds a little dated, and the mix of the original album was admittedly weak (Reed has repeatedly voiced his displeasure with the mix in print), but the songs and performances are still remarkable.
Considering the "for fans only" quality of many of the outtakes and extras available on the VU boxed set, "Peel Slowly and See," I was absolutely thrilled to find such a strong collection of songs on the "Fully Loaded Edition." The extended versions of "Sweet Jane" (which includes the lost verse "heavenly wine and roses seem to whisper to her when she smiles"), "Rock and Roll," and "New Age" are all nice additions, but I really got off on some of the alternate or early versions of the songs. "Lonesome Cowboy Bill" sounds like an entirely new song with Lou doing a crazy Jagger-esque vocal over a rumbling piano. The early version of "Cool it Down" sounds sparse, but Lou is as playful as I have ever heard.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on August 11, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Revered or dispised by fans, I'm one of those who finds "Loaded" to be one of the masterpieces of its generation. Granted, Lou Reed abandoned all the things that made the old Velvet Underground what it was, but this is a good straightahead rock record, full of fantastic songwriting, sarcasm, and brilliance.

So what makes "Loaded" so good? Stunning songwriting ably supported by sympathetic musicians. Reed, at the height of his powers as a rock and roll composer pulled off at least two classic songs that have worked their way into the collective unconsciousness in "Sweet Jane" and "Rock and Roll". These two pieces have been imitated so heavily and fiercely that they sound familiar the first time you hear them, and both of them have a little something, quite undefinable (Reed claims in the case of "Sweet Jane" that it's the extra chord that quickly sweeps by in the progression, I think it's an unnerving amount of passion in the vocal presonally) that makes them perfect.

The rest of the album doesn't quite live up to them, but it's full of superb songs, from the Beatlesque "Who Loves the Sun" to the sarcastic "New Age" and "Lonesome Cowboy Bill" to the the explosive "Held Held High" and the churning "Train Round the Bend". There are no real low points on the record, it's in fact all quite good. Highly recommended.
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