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Songs for Drella Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Beautiful 1990 tribute to Andy Warhol from ex-Velvet Underground founders Lou Reed & John Cale
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 28, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Imports
  • ASIN: B000002LKS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,878 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"SONGS FOR DRELLA" may be one of the most emotional pieces of music I have ever encountered. Not only is this disc a tribute to Andy Warhol, but it may also be the finest work of both Lou Reed, and John Cale. These songs feel so personal, one feels as if one is invading the very souls of each of these brilliant songwriters. While telling Andy's story they reveal much of themselves. Reed & Cale take turns covering every conceivable aspect of Andy Warhol's world. From art, work, style, childhood, fear, and envy. No stone is left unturned. One of the most haunting moments on this disc is "The Dream" by John Cale. A true masterpiece of inner terrors, and human weakness. Lou Reed shines on "WORK", "NOBODY BUT ME", and most notably on "HELLO IT'S ME". Here we can hear Lou's sadness, and longing for a friend lost. "SONGS FOR DRELLA" is heart wrenching, enlightened, and unimpeachable as music can get. Wether you're a fan of Lou Reed, John Cale, The Velvet Underground, or Andy Warhol; you will find beauty and truth in the music found on this emotional powder keg.
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Format: Audio CD
Songs for Drella is not your standard Pop affair. It is not soft, not chewable, doesn't have a moderate drumbeat and sickening sweet singing. Drella isn't even your typical Lou Reed/Velvet Album - there are no really catchy tunes, no long guitar solos, little angst.
What Songs for Drella is is simply a beautyful, personal theme album, written by two of Pop music's most able artists, to morn and settle their affiars with Andy Warhol.
The songs are not really a biography od Warhol, but rather Warhol as experienced through Lou Reed and John Cale's eyes... which is why the many of the songs are written from Lou's perseptive and why there is little reference to Warhol's like between 1970-1987.
But what you have is powerful in a melodic way. I heard a live version of the opening song, Small Town, with drums and all, but it didn't convey the power the album version does. "When you grow up in a small town, you know you grow down in a small down".
The album continues to demonstrate the wit and power of the three main figures: Reed, Cale and Warhol. Some of the best lyrics Reed, one of the best poets in Rock, has ever written, are in this album. In "The trouble with the Classicists" he declares: Trouble with a classicist, he looks at a tree, that's all he sees, he paints a tree/ trouble with a classisict, he looks at the sky, he doen't ask why, he just paints the sky" there are violent moments in this album - Reed declaring in 'I Believe', when talking about Valierie Solanes "I believe... there's got to be some retribution...
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Format: Audio CD
...after hearing this attempt by two middle-aged musicians come to terms with the death of a mentor. Loosely structured as an autobiography, Songs for 'Drella is a remarkably honest work, recognizing not only Warhol's shortcomings, but Reed and Cale's as well.
The narrative arc begins with the young Warhol's decision to leave Pittsburgh for New York ("Smalltown" -- Pittsburgh may not qualify in a literal sense, though the Oakland neighborhood where Warhol grew up in the 1940s might qualify in some cultural sense), the move to New York and employment as a commercial graphic artist ("Open House"), and the subsequent founding of the Factory and Warhol's emergence as an artist.
Valerie Solanis nearly succeeds in killing him ("I Believe" in which Reed and Cale advocate her execution), and it is pretty much downhill from there, both personally and artistically. The disk closes with "Hello, It's Me," an epilogue delivered from the standpoint of Reed and Cale.
The music is quite extraordinary, especially insofar as it is just Reed (vocals, guitar) and Cale (vocals, keyboards, viola). The soundscapes that they create are quite varied, particularly in the Cale dream song ("A Dream").
My work takes me places where I quite literally have to pack desert island disks. This one is among the ones I always take.
Parenthetically, if you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh, drop by the Warhol museum and you can see many of the objects (the silver flaoting pillows, the cow wallpaper, the Maos, the films etc.) that are referred to in these songs.
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Format: Audio CD
John Cale/Lou Reed - Songs for Drella (1990)

I got this one as soon as it came out in 1990 and it took me several listens to fully appreciate it. To reiterate what's already been written, this album is a song-cycle about the life of pop artist Andy Warhol who took the Velvet Underground under his wing back in the mid-60s. Not long after Warhol died, principle original Velvet members Lou Reed and John Cale reunited for the first time since Cale last worked with the Velvets (on the song "The Ocean" I believe) in order to pay tribute to a very important figure in their lives. Reed originally kicked Cale out of the band after recording the WHITE LIGHT/WHITE HEAT album for "artistic differences" (rivalry, creative control).

Many songs here are lovely, sweet and poignant. A few others are monotonous and grating. Those unfamiliar with the VU aesthetic will likely find it hard to appreciate songs like "Work" and "Images" (I've listened with various individuals who demanded that I turn these songs off). I myself had to get used to them before I could revel in their repetitive propulsion. Non-fans are more likely to find this rather arty and experimental album too far off the beaten path for their tastes.

So I'd say anyone just getting into these artists needs to go where it all began - THE VELVET UNDERGROUND AND NICO, the debut album from 1967. This is arguably the beginning of "alternative rock" (as well as "Goth" thanks in particular to "Venus in Furs").

SONGS FOR DRELLA features no outside musicians, just Reed on guitar, Cale on viola and keyboard, both sharing vocals. I especially love "The Trouble with Classicists," an easy-going song until Cale pounds away at the piano in the chorus as he gets worked up about conventions and conceits in the art world.
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