One of the best albums of all time. The songwriting, the playing, the raw production values... everything about this record screams "masterpiece." Anyone who speaks badly about this record has poor taste.
Surprised to see so many people speaking ill of Nico's contributions to this record. Sure, you can write her involvement off as a gimmick and you'd be write to point out that she wasn't really a creative force in terms of writing the songs or anything like that, but this album would not be the same (i.e. as utterly brilliant) without her. "Femme Fatale," "I'll Be Your Mirror" and "All Tomorrow's Parties" are just beautiful songs and her vocals suit them perfectly, I think. Nico was a brilliant artist in her own right, too, kicking off her solo career with four great records, the best of which (Desertshore and The Marble Index) I'd say match up favorably with any of the music of the period. Anyway, this is an album that's perfect or very nearly perfect because every contribution to it works together brilliantly -- Reed's songwriting, Cale's viola and avant garde sensibilities, Nico's singular vocals, Morrison's fractured guitars, Tucker's primal drumming. One of the best ever.
This is really a work of art. The boldness of Lou Reed, John Cale's deep knowledge of experimental music, the polyphonic lines of Sterling Morrison, the curious drumming style of Maureen Tucker (upturned bass drum, massive usage of mallets, standing up stance), the dramatic tension of Nico's voice and - last but not least - the judicious guidance of Andy Warhol made this masterpiece deserve a special place in history.
It's a shame that they never gained commercial success. It's funny though, the fact that over forty years after the release of the album is the time when they've received the most appreciation. The power of the Internet. ~