|Freshman dorm featuring The Velvet Underground & The Strokes|
I started listening to The Velvet Underground around my junior year in high school. At that point in my life, it was pretty much decided that my twenty-something self would be Suchin Pak--a hip, notable, young music journalist living in the city, wearing concert tees under cardigans, and calling up bands like, “Hey, when’s the next show and stuff?” Basically my 17-year-old self placed in an idealistic future.
So during one of my “gotta read Rolling Stone cover-to-cover, homework can shut its face off because it’s stupid” sessions, I came across an article about The Velvet Underground written by Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. And because The Strokes were the band I had scribbled across my spiral notebooks in attempts to stifle suicidal levels of boredom during math, I hung on every word Casablancas wrote.
Interestingly enough, when I listened to the casual, conversational vocals of Lou Reed and the melodic, yet careless tunes drifting behind him, it was like I was listening to The Strokes. “Loaded” was my first Underground album and it was really the moment I began to love not only music itself, but the complicated, entwining history of it. I started picking up on how this artist had influenced that artist or the way being in a certain area of the country didn’t just impact the lyrics, but the sound and the vibe. It’s so obvious to me now (8 years and two music history courses later) but as a teen, it kind of, like, totally blew my mind.
Has there really ever been another band that seems so effortlessly cool? A lot have come close, but at the end of the day they’re mostly just channeling these guys (and then girl. Can’t forget Nico, who I can’t totally love or totally hate.)
I don’t know about you, but today I’m in the mood to wear a concert tee and some Ray-bans while reading Andy Warhol’s autobiography. It should be assumed that the look of indifference will be appropriately expressed on my face.