#85, "Heroin," The Velvet Underground (1967)

Kelly started posting her list today so I'm celebrating by making today a two-fer. I also enjoy the comedy of posting "Punk Rock Girl" and "Heroin" on the same day. I don't think I planned this when I put these songs back-to-back on my list. I wish I did.


I think of myself as a late-adapter to the Velvets, but that's not true. I'm a *slow* adapter. I got into the Andy Warhol banana album in grad school almost 20 years ago. As I was getting into it, I didn't think I would love anything more than I loved that album. Then for a while nothing happened until fiveish years ago I entered my Transformer phase and didn't see loving anything more than that ever. Now I'm in my Loaded phase and it is the very height of western cultural achievement. In a few years I expect to enter my Berlin phase, and so on it will go. 


I love "Heroin," though. Because of its age, it seems a little cliched to describe it as something that starts really slow and whips itself into a frenzy. I think Lou was trying to recreate the experience of taking heroin while telling you with words how much he loves it. That sounds so stupid, but it works so incredibly well.


I don't, as a rule, like songs about heroin. I think the 90s killed the concept. By the time I heard the 19th Alice in Chains song about heroin I'd had enough. But most of them are all wrapped up in stupid metaphors. Not this song. It's like Lou has your face between his two palms and speaking words he can't possibly state more clearly "Heroin. Is. Great."