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Saturday, June 10, 2006 

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Its historical context and influence isn't nearly the first thing that strikes you about the Velvet Underground's debut, even when you're used to it, but there's a perverse pleasure there, in addition to the inherent thrills of the music.

Perverse because the human mind is perverse; if one is inhumanly rational about it, there should be no reason that The Velvet Underground & Nico's status as the LP bought by a thousand people who promptly started bands and routinely lionized even by those who should know better (than hyperbole) should add to the experience of listening to it, but there's something comforting and deeply satisfying to know that not only do you enjoy it, but that everyone else (who counts) does too. That you are smugly with the majority.

(PS. and just in case you think I'm being sarcastic, I do genuinely love the LP, and do experience a kind of comfort in knowing I'm firmly with the crowd on this one)

(PPS. bring on the comments slating the album!)

So you're WITH the crowd on this one, Ian ;)

Great album - the most influential record ever?

Yeah, and I'm probably with the crowd on most things; but recently I've been against it on a few rather noticeable things, and popping in this one was the first time (rightly or wrongly) I haven't felt a little idiosyncratic in my tastes in a while. I think you could make the argument for a few other records being a tiny bit more influential (Beatles obviously, I'd be tempted to maybe say Black Sabbath for inventing an entire genre), but it's certainly up there!

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Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

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