I don't understand how anyone who likes rock music could say this is a bad album. It's not as groundbreaking as the others (well, mostly the debut and White Light / White Heat) by any means, but it's fantastic songwriting front to back.
I've always liked this one a lot. Sure, it's not as groundbreaking as some of their other work but there are some great songs on here. I feel sorry for anyone who likes their other records but can't get into this one because it's "too poppy."
The three previous VU albums are masterpieces. I don't dispute that. The third being possibly possibly my favorite. But that discussion will never go anywhere. This album is top-notch, and it's one of my two "comfort albums", along with the Beatles' Rubber Soul. Meaning they're both perfect albums which go down really smooth, whenever I listen to them. Loaded is meant to be more pop than its predecessors. And I like it that way.
yup, retrogaming is definitely correct. the first three songs seem to be the only ones that i somewhat like from this album, with rock and roll being the most enjoyable. the second half just makes me angry - hand held high and lonesome cowboy bill are the worst offenders. i found a reason is overly generic and oh! sweet nuthin' definitely doesn't warrant it's song length. sure it's a pop/rock album but it isn't even a good one considering how shallow the lyrics are and the fact it was released in 1970. i mean c'mon, the beatles had already released let it be before the velvet underground finished recording loaded. /rant
To be sure, Lou Reed has always had a talent for writing excellent pop songs (and as you pointed out, they're there on the first few albums as well), but the difference I see between those earliest songs and those on Loaded is that even though they are pop songs, they remain innovative by exploring seedier/darker subject matter ("Sunday Morning" paints the morning after a drug trip; "There She Goes Again" alludes to misogyny and prostitution; "After Hours" is a very disturbing song about shutting oneself off from the world, made even more unsettling by the juxtaposition of the lyrics with Moe's voice; even "I'll Be Your Mirror," mainly a love song, is innovative in its use of Nico's voice and the excellence of the lyrics; etc.), whereas the songs on Loaded strike me as being the sort of generic pop songs that had never characterized the work of the band before. It's a decent enough effort I guess, but it's hard to not see it as a significant step down from what came before.
Weren't '67 and '69 full of "pop" songs as well? "Sunday Morning," "Femme Fatale," "Run Run Run," "There She Goes Again," "I'll Be Your Mirror," "Pale Blue Eyes," "Some Kinda Love," "Candy Says," "That's the Story of My Life," "Afterhours" are not pop songs? Loaded only differs drastically from White Light / White Heat and the nosier forays of VU & Nico, which I find to be the least listenable parts of the VU catalog.