Loaded is a small gold nugget in a vast river of dirt, the perfect rock n roll album without any filler. The album feels like a greatest hit collection, with each track mastering a style of the genre. Each song being aesthetically different from the other makes listening to the album incredibly refreshing every time.
But being a perfect rock n roll album is vastly different from being a perfect Velvet Underground album. The group’s relatively small discography is incredibly unique, each album giving different vibes when listening to them. From psychedelia of The Velvet Underground & Nico, to the melting distortion of White Light/White Heat, to the surprisingly quiet eponymous album The Velvet Underground, and finally ending with Loaded. Each album is so contrasted that it is nearly impossible to compare them to one another. The Velvet Underground was desperate to deliver an album with significant sales to label producers as their previous albums famously undersold despite having so much significance later on.
Significant pressure was put upon the group to release an album that is “loaded” with potential hit singles, and the band delivered on every count except for sales. The album seems to be filled with irony and sass, with the most obvious of which being “Who Loves the Sun” being a jab at the Beatles “Here Comes the Sun,” released the year prior. Another track called “Rock and Roll” which legitimately deals with a girl falling in love with the genre with the song being filled to the brim with classic riffs that can make anyone close their eyes and simply relax. “Sweet Jane” is the most recognized track on the album, starting with an incredibly complex opening riff slowly morphing into a minimalist one. The song deals with a middle-class couple’s love life, with sexual innuendos thrown in for good measure.
Loaded was the perfect album for the Velvet Underground to finally obscure themselves into the unknown, combining all the ideas and melodies they had been gathering for the small amount of time they were a band together. The album has influenced how pop music is formulated to fit a broad audience and lyrics that can be widely understood, no matter your background. Loaded most definitely secured their spot as one of the greatest bands of all time.
The Velvet Underground’s Loaded: 5/5